General energy system and GHG emissions

In Austria the gross domestic consumption of energy in Austria´s primary energy supply in the year 1998 is about 1,187 PJ/a, where about 23% come from renewable energy sources. 77 % are covered by fossil energy carriers (petroleum 42%, 24% natural gas and 11% coal). The Austrian Energy Flow 2000 is annually published by the Austrian Energy Agency. The system starts on the left side with primary energy carriers - biomass, coal, gas and oil - its transformation to the 6 final energy carriers in the middle - biomass, coal, gas, oil, electricity and heat - until it ends on the right side with the 5 different types of useful energy. An overview of the Austrian energy balance 2000 (in German) is provided by the Statistics Austria.

Specific information on the Austrian electricity consumption and distribution is provided by the Austrian Association of Electricity Utilities. The non-profit organisation represents some 140 Austrian companies operating in the electricity sector.
In 2004 DG Tren of CEC assessed the state of development of renewable energy in the Member States of the European Union, and documented country profiles for all 25 MS {COM(2004)366 final}. In the Austrian country profile you find information on the current status and potentials of all Renewable Energy Sources and on the main supporting policies on national level.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture Forestry Environment and Water Management provides data on the Austrian climate and climate change policy. Detailed information regarding national GHG inventories, climate change, research activities, projects etc. are available at the "Second National Comunication" (Second National Climate Report of the Austrian Federal Government, 1997). It provides information on greenhouse gas emissions and removals in Austria, on policies and measures for the reduction of greenhouse gases and on the future emission trends. Furthermore, expected impacts of climate change and possible adaptation measures, climate-related financial assistance as well as research and public information projects concerning climate change are described. The "Third National Comunication" has been available since the beginning of March 2002.

Further helpful links to Austrian and International sites dealing with climate, climate change, emissions etc. are provided by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture Forestry Environment and Water Management, by the Federal Environment Agency of Austria and by the Austrian Council on Climate Change.

General description of bioenergy systems

Of the renewable sources of energy above all biomass and hydropower occupy a predominant position: the annual supply of renewable primary energy in 1998 was 275.1 PJ, where 124.6 (45%) came form biomass and 133,8 from hydropower (49%). Focusing on the biogenic energy sources used in Austria 57,4% of the biomass are fuelwood from forest cuttings. Further details on Bioenergy use in Austria in the year 2000 are also provided by the Austrian Bioenergy Association.

The following presentation of Kasimir Nemestothy of the Austrian Energy Agency gives a good overview on Bioenergy use in Austria

The Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Transport edited a brochure "Energy from Biomass - Research & Development in Austria". The report provides a survey on participants, subjects of research and development, and examples of implementation. It aims to inform and to stimulate international exchange of information, thus establishing a basis for future cooperation in the field research and questions of implementation.

Examples of some Bioenergy plants in Austria:

Land use, land use change, and forestry

By 1994, referring to the 1992/96 Austrian Forest Inventory - AFI (Schieler et al., 1996, 1997), Austria is covered with forests by 47% of the national area, divided into exploitable (3,352 mio ha) and unexploitable (572 mio ha) forests. Data on Land Use, Land Use change and forestry are provided by several data bases. First, the Austrian Forest Inventory is available at the Austrian Federal Forest Research Centre in Vienna as a CD-ROM including the last two inventories.
Second, the Federal Environment Agency Ltd. in Vienna provides information on this topic in the report of:
Weiss P., Schieler K., Schadauer K., Radunsky K., Englisch M. (2000) The Carbon Balance of the Austrian Forests between 1961-1996 and some reflections on the Kyoto Protocol, Vienna, 2000. (Monographien, Band 106).

Lexer M.J., Hönninger K., Scheifinger H., Matulla Ch., Groll N., Kromp-Kolb, Schaduaer K., Starlinger F. and Englisch M. provide informations of the "Sensitivity of the Austrian Forests to Scenarios of Climatic Change"

Information on carbon sinks and sources of forest trees that may be accounted for under Article 3.3 of the Kyoto Protocol during the first commitment period for the countries of the European Union are reported in:
J. Liski, T. Karjalainen, A. Pussinen, G.-J. Nabuurs and P. Kauppi (2000): Trees as carbon sinks and sources in the European Union, Environmental Science & Policy, Vol. 3, Iss. 2-3, April 2000, 91-97.

National policies and measures

Bioenergy policies in Austria are generally driven by the ELWOG (Energy Liberalization Act):
ELWOG 2000
Articles 7-9 of the Energy Liberalization Act, which was issued in the Federal Law Gazette I no. 121/2000 on 1st December 2000, deal with the full liberalization of the Austrian electricity market.
Art. 7 of this Act comprises the amendment to the Electricity Industry and Organization Act (ELWOG), Art. 8 comprises the Federal Law on the functions of regulatory authorities in the electricity sector and the establishing of Electricity Control Ltd. and the Electricity Control Commission. Finally, Art. 9 comprises the Federal Law laying down performance conditions, functions and powers of the clearing and settlement centres for transactions and pricing of balance energy.
Thereby the following objectives shall be reached:
  1. 100% liberalization of the Austrian electricity market as of 1st October 2001 and thereby access of all ultimate consumers to the European electricity market
  2. Reduction in electricity prices
  3. Labelling on the supplier's invoice (detailed breakdown by different primary energy carriers on the basis of which electrical energy was generated)
  4. Tightening of the provisions on the unbundling of generation, transmission and distribution of electricity (avoidance of improper subsidization)
  5. Reorganization of energy monitoring by establishing "independent regulatory authorities" (Electricity Control Ltd., Electricity Control Commission)
  6. Setting up of independent clearing and settlement centres (balance group coordinator)
  7. Uniting of consumer/producer groups to form balance groups (Scandinavian model)
  8. Competition-neutral system of subsidies for the generation of electrical energy on the basis of renewable energy carriers (small hydroelectric plants, tariffs).
Installation of regional funds for the subsidization of renewable energy. In those cases where the Directive 96/92/EC allows for a choice between comparable mechanisms Austria has chosen the option which is most effective for the functioning of the market und which helps avoid any discrimination of new participants. Like many other EU-member states Austria has also decided in favour of regulated access to the network for third parties, full legal unbundling between network operator and producer/distributor as well as the establishing of independent regulatory authorities.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture Forestry Environment and Water Management and Ministry of Economics and Labor provide a report on different energy scenarios for the future called "Energieszenarien bis 2020", Schriftenreihe des BMLFUW, Band 20/2001, ISBN 3-902-01079-7, a report on the evaluation of the energiemarket for Austria called "Energiebinnenmarkt und Umweltschutz: Evaluierung in Österreich", Schriftenreihe des BMLFUW, Band 4/2001, and a report on strategies for renewable energy carriers called "Strategien für erneuerbare Energieträger", Schriftenreihe des BMLFUW, Band 21/2001 (all in German).

In the Austrian Country profile of DG Tren you find also information on the main supporting policies on national level.

A report on "Emission Reduction Policies and Induced Technological Change" is provided by the Austrian Institute of Economic Research and the University of Graz.

The Austrian Council on Climate Change provides information about the Austrian initiative to implement the Kyoto-Protocol.

Austrian Climate Change Strategy: Austria's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 13% remains a major challenge. Total greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 Equivalents)increased from 1990 to 2003 by 16,6%. The finalisation of a comprehensive climate change strategy in 2002, the Klimastrategie 2008/2012 (in German) was an important step forward. This report includes a package of possible measures and activities to reduce the national GHG emissions for different sectors. In the year 2005 this Climate Change Strategy is under evaluation, and a new version will be available in first half of 2006.

The Austrian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management developed an action programm called "klima:aktiv" (in German), which includes goals for the development of all renwables and actions to promote the realisation of concrete projects (e.g. biomass heating systems in households, district heating with biomass, biogas…).

In the year 2003 the Austrian Government started with its JI/CDM programme.

Regional and local policies and measures

Most of Austrian States (on regional level) have their own energy plans, which include in most cases energy data on regional level and sometimes also detailed information on regional policies and measures. One example is the Styrian Energyplan 2005-2015 (in German)

Implementation projects

The purpose of the "Austrian Strategy on Sustainable Bioenergy" was to analyze the effects of an enhanced biomass utilization in the Austrian heat and electricity market. The investigated scenarios differed in the quantity of biomass used ("business as usual" or "ambitious") and the time frame (till 2005 or 2010). Two further scenarios investigated the influence of a recent legal obligation to produce 4% of the electricity sold from renewables, mainly biomass.
For these scenarios the additional cost , the resulting greenhouse gas emission reduction as well as the influence on the job market are given. Recommendations for research activities and legal provisions that may help to enforce the biomass use in Austria are given. The study entitled "Nachhaltige Bioenergiestrategie für Österreich" (in German) is published by the Austrian Association of Electricity Utilities at "VEÖ Seminar und Medienverlags- und -vertriebs Ges.m.b.H." and can be ordered under the following address: [email protected]

Research programms

The main goal of the ACBM (Austrian Carbon Balance Model) was to establish a dynamic model that reflects the behavior of the carbon cycle in Austria. The ACBM simulates the flows and pools of the Austrian carbon system. It covers agriculture and forestry, as well as the energy sector, the production and consumption sector, and waste management.
The European Study of Carbon in the Ocean, Biosphere and the Atmosphere (ESCOBA) under the Environment and Climate Research Programme of the EU, dealt with carbon cycles for different European Countries. The specific objectives of one sister project - ESCOBA Biosphere - are the forecast interactions between the terrestrial biosphere, soils and climate.
A project within this ESCOBA Biosphere (Schwaiger H., Jäkel (2000), Carbon balance of forest sectors in selected European countries under changing environmental conditions using a "stock change accounting approach", paper presented at the COST Action E9 "LCA on forestry and forest products", Mid-term Seminar 27 - 29 March 2000 in Helsinki/Espoo -Dipoli, Finland, provides data of carbon stock changes in European forests and forest products: Austria, Germany, Finland, Sweden and Portugal.
Reference of the entire study:
(European Study of Carbon in the Ocean, Biosphere and Atmosphere: Biosphere), Final Report 1. Feb.1996 - 31. Jan 1999, CESBIO France.
"Greenhouse Gas Balances of Bioenergy Systems in Comparison to Fossil Energy Systems" (national Austrian project within Task XV/25, 6/97-6/99, financed by Austrian Federal, State, and industrial research funds). Various bioenergy systems for the provision of electricity and heat in Austria are being investigated for the years 2000 and 2020, respectively. Amongst others, the methodology for greenhouse gas balances of bioenergy systems in comparison with fossil energy systems developed by Task XV is being applied (Schlamadinger et al., 1997, Biomass and Bioenergy, forthcoming; for more information contact:
[email protected])
FEEDS (Fuelwood in Europe for Environment and Development Strategies), is a project funded within the Non-Nuclear Energy Programme JOULE III of the European Commission (Contract No. JOR3-CT95-0004), has been carried out to analyze possibilities to increase fuelwood use for five European countries (Austria, Finland, France, Portugal and Sweden) up to the year 2020, considering environmental, technical and socio-economic aspects. The contribution of JOANNEUM RESEARCH deals with the greenhouse gas implications for these five countries (for information contact:
[email protected]).
more information

Other important links

  • University for Agricultural Sciences Vienna

  • University of Innsbruck, Institute for Meteorology und Geophysics

  • Austrian Research Center Seibersdorf (ARCS)

  • JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH

  • International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

  • Graz University of Technology

  • Vienna University of Technology

  • Karl-Franzens-University Graz

  • Wegener Center for Climate Change