- Burgenland state of Austria aims to add 3.2 GW solar PV capacity by 2030 as part of efforts to become energy independent
- This can be achieved through rooftop solar, ground mounted PV and practically all possible avenues to expand this power generation technology
- Solar and wind energy development will be accelerated with supportive regulatory infrastructure and faster permitting processes
In order to ensure gas and oil independent heat supply and become climate-neutral by 2030, the Austrian State of Burgenland will accelerate the expansion of wind and solar, targeting its PV capacity to reach 3.2 GW.
In the state’s Energy Independence Package released on March 10, 2022, Burgenland said currently its energy requirement is 14 TWh annually out of which 50% is covered by renewable energies, while the remaining 50% comprising mostly gas, oil and nuclear power is imported from Eastern European nations.
At least 80% gas comes from Russia alone, which in recent months has become extremely costly. “We have to change that and free ourselves from this dependency. Every single wind turbine, every single PV panel that we install releases us from this dependency. That is also the need of the hour,” said Energie Burgenland Board Member Stephan Sharma.
The state estimates this remaining 50% are translating into 7 TWh to be generated locally. Sharma believes for this Burgenland would need to install an additional 5 GW power generation capacity. This can come from installing 350 new wind turbines with a combined capacity of 1.8 GW.
Solar PV can bring in another 3.2 GW through rooftops, building façades, carports and the like with 500 MW, and 2.7 GW from ground mounted PV. He added, “Every large area photovoltaic project brings cheap energy for the people in Burgenland.” The package roots for critical infrastructure as hospitals and nursing homes to be self-sufficient in energy generation.
Energy storage is also on the agenda, including the residential segment, ‘just like in the PV and heat pump sector’, with an aim to install 300 MW capacity by 2030. The government committed to easing the permitting and processing time for renewables to grow.
“In the future, there will be no reallocations for large wind and photovoltaic systems of supra-regional importance. Instead, these areas are approved by an ordinance from the state government,” said Governor Hans Peter Doskozil.
Municipalities will remain involved in the zoning process and receive €700 annually for PV systems instead of the previous €350 per hectare. Without zoning, 200 m² instead of 100 m² will be possible in the future and roof PV systems up to 20 KWp (previously up to 10 KWp) will not require a permit.
Presenting the state’s Energy Independence Package on March 10, 2022, Doskozil admitted that the Russian invasion on Ukraine is making European governments to act quickly to get over their dependence on energy supplies not only from Russia but other Eastern European nations as well.
Doskozil stressed that all possibilities must be exhausted to make the PV expansion faster for which the package has been put together.
Recently, the European Commission launched a proposal called REPowerEU to become independent of Russian gas supply before 2030, with help from renewables, but SolarPower Europe criticized the low solar ambition stated (see EU’s REPowerEU To Reduce Russia Reliance Short on Solar). Unlike the European Commission, the Burgenland shows how to be ambitious and utilize lower cost and versatile solar power.