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When the fixed contracts expire, the city will redirect the usage towards powering municipal buildings

Salzburg sells municipal renewable energy to the general grid for profit

Salzburg sells municipal renewable energy to the general grid for profit

Authorities explain that the motive is to save taxpayers' money

Electricity prices across Austria are on the rise and the country is having a hard time filling up its gas storage capacities. Currently, they are at 45%, according to a July report by Statista, as the alpine country is 80% reliant on Russian Gazprom imports.

At the same time, however, authorities in the city of Salzburg have found a little loophole that would allow them to generate additional income for the local budget. They have started to sell renewable energy generated at the municipal photovoltaic plants to the country’s energy grid.

A bit of market speculation or just good timing

As ORF, the Austrian National Broadcaster, reports, Salzburg’s municipal renewable energy scheme is down to timing and price-capped contracts. Nearly a third of what the city produces is fed back into the general grid, as the tariffs are extremely lucrative. This, local leaders have said, would ultimately save the taxpayer money.

Still, the municipality of Salzburg generates rather small amounts of solar energy. With current projects in development, by the end of 2022, the city will have enough PV systems to power 200 homes. And while this would not satisfy municipal demand, at least the city can generate a small revenue stream.

Currently, around 60% of the photovoltaic systems power local senior citizens’ homes, the town hall of a local outdoor pool. The rest is being fed into the general grid. The city’s energy coordinator, Franz Huemer explained that the city had a long-term electricity supply contract.

This means that, while many citizens have started to feel the sting of rising energy prices, the municipality does not. Authorities can sell the energy they produce at twice the price they currently pay to their service providers.

The contemporary tariffs for renewable photovoltaic energy, fed back into the grid, is 30 cents per kilowatt hour. For the city, this means an income of 90,000 euros per year, according to the ORF.

When the city’s contracts expire, the excess municipal renewable energy will be directed toward buildings that lack their own photovoltaic systems.

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