Renewable Energy Sources in the Austrian town of Villach
The combination of measures regarding energy efficiency and the further development of renewable energies has been key-element of Villach’s energy strategy for more than 20 years. Being the second biggest town in Carinthia with 60,000 citizens, Villach has integrated different and “younger” sources of sustainable energy in addition to the excellent basis of hydro power coming from the Drau and other smaller rivers. So it is possible in 2014 that all private households can be supplied with renewable electricity from the town and 80% of district heat comes from biomass and thermal power.
As one of the first Austrian member towns, Villach adhered to Climate Alliance Austria in 1992, joined the e5-network in 2009, the Austrian programme of the European Energy Award, and also recently joined the Smart City initiative.
Villach receives "eeee"-Energy Award
Ambitious energy strategy
The following goals were set in the town’s ambitious energy strategy:
- Reduction of GHG emissions per capita by 30% until 2020 (base year 2010!)
- Share of renewable energy production 50% by 2020 (including mobility)
- Increase energy efficiency by 20% until 2020 (base year 2010)
- Modal split: +10% public transport, -10% motorized private transport by 2020
Due to new technologies and standardisation the electricity production from decentralised sources is getting more and more important. For instance the number of private PV-installations - subsidised by the local government - has been steadily increasing in the last years on the one hand, but also PV-installations on public buildings have been very successful (invested by civic participation as the recently installed 500 kWp). The Smart City project focuses additionally on energy storage and smart grids.
As far as heating is concerned, the local government has been working on increasing the renewable share. A free-of-cost-check of local heating systems has been offered by the town as well as energy consulting to change private heating systems into renewable ones.
From a strategic point of view, the town-development strategy seems to be very important. In one working group the topics of “energy, infrastructure, mobility, supply and waste management” are jointly developed, and the experts work on a “town of quick ways” and the utilisation and better integration of existing potential sources (waste heat and solar power).
The whole package is completed with the tertiary and on-the-job-training sector. In addition to the University of Applied Sciences Kärnten and its focus on energy and technology, the town of Villach disposes of a broad energy consulting network, an association for renewable energy and a high-quality information programme regarding green jobs and sustainable technologies.