Rising energy costs due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict have pushed up overall inflation in Austria and this has caused the Austrian government to come up with a plan to expand the renewable energy sector in the country.
The government has revealed that it will provide financial assistance of €250 million for the development of solar and onshore wind power projects in Austria. This is expected to reduce fuel imports and help the country become more independent in fulfilling its power needs.
Austria’s Finance Ministry unveiled a package of €2 billion earlier this week to counter the current raging inflation. A €250 million provision for renewable energy development is a part of the larger package. Last year, the Austrian Government had also announced a package of €1.7 billion.
Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler said of the new provision, “The sun and wind don’t send us bills. Gazprom does.” She referred to the Russian company on which the economy of Austria relies for gas supplies.
Various other initiatives are also a part of the package. There will be a 90% reduction in the electricity tax and gas tax by the end of June, 2022. This will relieve electricity consumers by more than €900 million euros. The companies that switch to alternate and renewable energy forms will get €120 million in financing.
Austria’s solar energy association, called ‘Photovoltaic Austria’, has welcomed the government’s decision for providing additional financing to green energy projects. The association has also called upon the government that the package must not distract the attention of the government from the enforcement of the Renewables Expansion Law (EAG). The law was approved by the Austrian government in July last year. As of now, Austria gets about 80% of its gas from Russia and the existing contracts will continue until 2040.
Photovoltaic Austria says that regulations under the new legislation are required urgently for the speedy development of thousands of green energy projects and for undoing rising energy costs in Austria.
According to the International Energy Association (IEA), Austria has set a target to achieve 100 per cent electricity supply from renewable sources of power by 2030. IEA says that at present, about three quarters of the country’s power comes from renewables but Austria will need 22-27 TWh of renewable electricity to deliver its 2030 target.