Lower Austria, the largest of Austria’s nine states, has announced it now generates 100% of its electricity from renewable sources.
Located on the Danube River, Europe’s second largest river, has considerably aided this claim, as some 63% of the region’s electricity generation comes from hydroelectric mechanisms that are located on the river.
Lower Austria’s electricity production is broken down into 63% hydroelectricity, 26% from wind energy, 9% from biomass, and 2% from solar.
“We have invested heavily to boost energy efficiency and to expand renewables,” said Erwin Proell, premier of the 1.65-million-strong Lower Austria region at a recent press conference. “Since 2002 we have invested 2.8 billion euros (US$3 billion) in eco-electricity, from solar parks to renewing (hydroelectric) stations on the Danube.”
The announcement was made prior to a gathering of world leaders for the decisive UN climate talks in Paris , scheduled for later this month. According to ScienceAlert, the announcement of Lower Austria’s achievement “is a beacon of hope amid other grim environmental news – and also a testament to how much the state has put into clean energy production.”
As for the remainder of Austria, 75% comes from renewables and the rest from fossil fuels. The nation voted against nuclear power in a 1978 referendum,
On the employment side of the energy scale, Lower Austria is laying claim to the creation of 38,000 “green jobs.” Proell has said, the state aims to increase to this total to 50,000 by 2030.
ScienceAlert states Austria leads the European Union in the percentage of electricity it generates from renewable sources. Immediately behind it are followed by Sweden, Portugal, Latvia, and Denmark. It added these other considerations:
“Sweden recently announced it was aiming to become the world’s first fossil-fuel-free nation, and Denmark has enjoyed success in generating and sharing surplus energy through its wind power network. Elsewhere in Europe, one of the world’s leaders in renewable energy production, Norway, announced recently it was banning cars from its capital’s city centre in an ambitious bid to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent.”
Although small by scales, this is all tremendously encouraging news.
Image via ScienceAlert