Europe 2020: Renewable Energy Plans - 'Conservative' plan fails to maximise wind potential

AUSTRIA: Austria's National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP), delivered to the European Commission on July 1, is described as a realistic but very conservative estimate on the basis of known data by the federal ministry for the economy, family and youth (BMW).

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Austria's renewables target of 34% puts it in fourth place after Sweden, Latvia and Finland as the countries with the highest shares of renewables in end-energy use by 2020. For wind energy, the action plan asks for another 2.3GW to be installed by 2020, bringing the total to 3.3GW.

The plan and energy strategy are based on stabilising end-energy use at the 2005 level of 26.3 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe). But while the strategy assumes a 1.7 mtoe increase in renewables to 2020, the plan targets only a 1.4 mtoe rise. The ministry says it is concentrating mainly on more efficiency in energy consumption and on ecologically acceptable expansion of hydropower stations, as these measures will not increase costs to industry and households.

The other renewables, including wind, are heavily supported but not yet ripe for the market, it states. An average household pays EUR50 a year to support renewables and the total burden on households and industry is currently about EUR340 million, according to the ministry. Austria's renewables lobby is disappointed by the targets. It believes Austria to be capable of a 4.3 mtoe increase by 2020 and thinks that wind should provide an additional 0.45 mtoe of energy rather than the 0.24 mtoe envisioned under the energy strategy.

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