Austria

Austria

Record year with new challenge -- Austria REFIT and obligation

Austria set a new record in 2000 during which time 36 new turbines were installed, bringing the total to 122 and almost doubling capacity to 78 MW. The revision of the country's energy law, ElWOG, gave the wind sector a boost by targeting 4% of the country's electricity to be generated from renewables by 2007. But, enthusiasm has been dampened by a development in the leading wind state, Lower Austria, where all last year's new wind plant installations are located. The state governor wants to limit the amount of wind generated electricity to 2%, a cap that would allow only another 40 MW of wind in the state on top of the 61 MW already generating. IGW is gearing up for legal action to head off the proposed cap.

Thirty-six new turbines were installed in Austria in 2000, bringing the total to 122 and almost doubling capacity to 78 MW. "This has been the most successful year for wind so far. We are at the top of the wind league of countries with no coastline," says Stefan Hantsch of Interessengemeinschaft Windkraft Österreich (IGW), the Austrian wind association. Around 500 jobs have been created by the industry and about 3000 investors have put money in wind projects, the IGW reports.

The revision of the country's energy law, ElWOG, gave the wind sector a boost by targeting 4% of the country's electricity to be generated from renewables by 2007 (Windpower Monthly, October 2000). The law will take effect in October after the country's nine Länder have agreed on regional regulations and renewable energy feed-in tariffs (REFITs). Grid operators will then have to take all renewables and combined-heat-and-power generated electricity onto their networks and pay a premium price for it.

The law says the percentage of renewables generated electricity included in the mix sold to customers must begin at 1% this year, rising a percentage point every two years until 2007. Hantsch describes the new REFIT law as "the foundation to further growth in the renewables sector."

Enthusiasm has been dampened by a development in the leading wind state, Lower Austria, however, where all last year's new wind plant installations are located. The state governor wants to limit the amount of wind generated electricity to 2%, a cap that would allow only another 40 MW of wind in the state on top of the 61 MW already generating. IGW is gearing up for legal action to head off the proposed cap.

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