Ukraine war drives renewables expansion in Austria's Burgenland

Wind turbine in Austria. Author: Henning Leweke. License: Creative Commons. Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

March 11 (Renewables Now) - Burgenland on Thursday unveiled a strategy that would speed up the expansion of wind and solar power and help the Austrian state become independent from gas and oil imports.

The state, the country's easternmost state bordering Hungary, plans to deploy 3,200 MW of photovoltaic capacity and 1,800 MW of wind power by the end of the decade in order to add 5,000 MW of green electricity and zero out by 2030.

Roofs, noise protection walls, carports and sealed areas are estimated to have the potential for 500 MW of PV capacity while the potential for ground-mounted plants in the state is seen at 2,700 MW.

At present, renewable energy covers 50% of the electricity needs of the state and the rest comes from imports, mainly gas, oil and nuclear power from Eastern Europe. Russian gas accounts for 80% of the gas imports. The skyrocketing gas price in recent months and the war in Ukraine has motivated the state to accelerate the energy transition in order to cut its dependence.

To advance the decarbonisation of the heating sector, the use of high-temperature heat pumps will be subsidies with EU funds and investments will be made in the generation of biogas at wind and solar plants. Biomass will be also further developed.

Additionally, the state in cooperation with local municipalities is planning the first pilot projects that should pave the way to boost the state's storage capacity to 300 MW by 2030.

The strategy envisages also adjusting framework conditions and simplifying approval procedures to support the green push.

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