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Salzburg аims for 100% green energy until 2030, but is it feasible?

Salzburg аims for 100% green energy until 2030, but is it feasible?

Deputy Governor of the Environment Heinrich Schellhorn tried to answer this question

Austria has set an ambitious climate goal for itself – 100% of the electricity in the country should come from renewable sources by the year 2030 and it seems that this is a realistic goal only for the state of Salzburg. Yesterday, the state’s Deputy Governor of the Environment Heinrich Schellhorn, made a statement saying that supplying the state exclusively with green energy is ambitious, but achievable.  

On the other hand, Leonhard Schitter the director of the state’s own energy supplier, Salzburg-AG, saw the renewable energy goal as welcomed but ultimately unrealistic, considering the current state of the electrical infrastructure.

Austria’s new energy goal

The Austrian Parliament voted in favour of the country’s new Renewable Expansion Law (EAG), setting the goal of 100% renewable electricity consumption by 2030. The new legislation pushes the bar even further from the previous goal of 75%.

The focus of the new green energy expansion is wind power, as the country needs to start producing 27 TWh in the next ten years. The idea is that 10 TWh should come from wind turbines. This means more than 500 additional MW of new energy generation each year from now to 2030.

WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson was quoted in a press release, saying: “It’s great that Austria wants its electricity to be 100% renewable in 2030. And it’s great they’ve set a specific new target for the build-out of wind. The States now need to identify the areas for the new wind farms.”

In some ways, the glass is half full

Deputy Governor Schellhorn doubled down on his position and gave some concrete figures on Salzburg’s current energy makeup. He said that in terms of hydropower, the state needs to do expand capacity by only 6%, and this is something that they can do.

The problem is wind-generated power, which currently is practically non-existent in Salzburg. Schellhorn explained that this is an area where the government is focusing a lot of effort. They plan to create 25 wind turbines by 2030, however, there is some social resistance to the idea as well as complex approval procedures. But, to him, the plan is completely feasible.

Director Schitter was quick to underline a major roadblock to any future expansion efforts in the energy sector. He explained that large sections of the power grid are obsolete and the state government needs to pass legislation for renovations. Otherwise, he warns of an increased risk of blackouts.

He explained that a large part of the power grid is half a century old and needs to be replaced in the span of a few years. The risk here is that if a massive expansion in renewables, feeding energy into the grid could lead to increased instability.

The company is currently building a number of hydropower and biomass plants, however, they need to start focusing on replacing the power lines. A failing grid would not help anyone achieve 100% renewable energy consumption.

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