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Michael Strebl, showcasing a new photovoltaic development , Source: City of Vienna

Vienna to invest over a billion euros for the natural gas phase-out

Vienna to invest over a billion euros for the natural gas phase-out

Authorities from the local energy company explained that only strong investments in sustainability would get the city out of the crisis

Yesterday, Vienna’s city-owned energy company, Wien Energie, published its annual balance report for 2021, which showed a decline in earnings, despite the company’s growth in users. According to a statement by Michael Strebl, Chairman of the Wien Energie Management Board, this is because of the recent natural gas shortage or what he called a ‘difficult economic situation’.

At the same time, with the publication, he also showcased Wien Energie’s investment plan for the next five years, which calls for one billion euros for a natural gas phase-out. The funds will go towards renewable projects with an increased focus on hydrogen and especially geothermal energy.

Stability is at the centre of Vienna’s energy future

Michael Strebl explained that in the short term, securing the supply of raw materials is a top priority for the city, despite its outlook on a fossil fuel-free future. This statement was likely made with regard to the Russian war in Ukraine, the rise in natural gas prices, as well as the rather abrupt decision of Gazprom to cut Bulgaria and Poland off from deliveries.

Thus, by 2027, the company wants to invest 1.29 billion into the city’s infrastructure. This figure accounts for 625 million euros for heating projects, 334 million euros for the expansion of renewable electricity, 90 million euros for environmentally friendly cooling, 160 million euros for digitization, electric mobility and telecommunications and a further 90 million euros for supply security.

Authorities in the Austrian capital have stated that their goal is to reach climate neutrality by 2040 and this goal includes locally-generated energy and heat. According to a statement by the city, 18 years from now, 56% of the buildings should be heated by district heating. At the same time, representatives of Wien Energie have added that according to the expansion plan, 100% of the district heating has to be climate neutral itself.

Michael Strebl was quoted in a press release, saying: “Only investments will get us out of the crisis. Wien Energie will spend one billion euros on the gas phase-out in the coming years. We are completely reorganizing the Vienna energy system: Every euro that we put our hands on today brings the people of Vienna independence, climate protection and price stability in the long term.”

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