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What the country lacks for electricity independence

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“75 percent of our electricity requirements are already generated from renewable energy sources,” says WKO expert Martin Heidinger.

Electricity does not come from the socket – many people have had to learn this lesson at great expense in recent months. The electricity price index has risen by almost 320 percent in the past twelve months (see story below) – economic and ecological pressure to put the country’s energy supply on a safe and sustainable basis. By 2030, the domestic electricity requirement should be 100 percent renewable, and from 2040 it should be climate neutral at all – at least that is the policy requirement of the Renewable Energy Expansion Act. But how realistic are these goals?

75 percent from renewable energy sources

This question has now been investigated at the Institute for Economic Development and Location (IWS) of the WKO Styria. “Currently, 75 percent of our electricity consumption comes from renewable energy sources,” says WKO expert Martin Heidinger. To convert the remaining 25 percent, nonetheless, it would require a large-scale expansion of the energy infrastructure. “Styria would need six more Mur power plants, 140 wind turbines and 2,500 football fields in the photovoltaic area,” calculated Heidinger. But this is not all. Because in order to be able to use the excess electricity associated from the summer to the winter as well, a large-scale expansion of infrastructure and storage would be necessary, such as that planned with the Koralm eco-storage facility. “nonetheless, the action here and in many other projects shows that we must massively speed up our approval procedures,” emphasizes Herbert Ritter, Vice President of the Styrian Chamber of Commerce. Otherwise, the achievement of these goals is very unrealistic. The Institute of Energy Industry puts the investment requirements of the whole country until 2030 at around 70 billion euros. Ritter is convinced that this cannot be achieved with the current parameters of the EIA Act: “We must test all the procedures and finally move from talk to action. We cannot afford more years of delay in the energy sector.” This also applies in particular to the expansion of photovoltaics, where the envisaged renewable energy program has not advanced beyond the negotiation status for several years.

Energy prices continue to rise sharply

In September, the electricity price index once again increased by 27.6 percent compared to the previous month. Compared to the previous year, this corresponds to an increase of no less than 319.9 percent. In relation to the base year (2006 = 100), the index calculated by the Australian Energy Agency reached a new high of 516.52 points.

The development of the gas price is even more dramatic, which is not the least indirectly fuel the price of electricity. This rose 36.4 percent in the last month, compared to September last year, the inflation is 789.9 percent. In light of these big price jumps, the government has now decided on a price limit for electricity. Specifically, the sponsored price up to a consumption of 2,900 kilowatt hours, up to this value only ten cents per kilowatt hour must be paid. The relief due for mid-2024 should have an impact for the preceding in December.

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