Regional implementation of small scale biomass in Upper Austria
Upper Austria Upper Austria is a highly industrialised area with a population of 1.4 Mio. inhabitants and a surface of 11,980 km². In 1993, the first Upper Austrian Energy plan was passed which defined concrete goals to reduce fossil fuel consumption by increasing both energy efficiency (EE) and the use of renewable energy sources (RES) by the year 2000. This plan lead to an increase of RES from 25% in 1993 to 30% in the year 2000 including for example 15.000 modern automatic wood heating systems. In the year 2000 this successful first phase of the energy action plan was continued with the "Energy 21"-strategy. Again, concrete goals were defined (to be reached by 2010) including (among others): doubling the share of modern biomass heating systems and of thermal solar collectors and reducing energy consumption for heating and hot water supply by 20%.
But beside the clear political commitment, comprehensive programmes and a broad mix of measures ranging from information and awareness building strategies, financial support and legal measures to training, seminars, conferences and R&D-activities. The O.Oe. Energiesparverband, the regional energy agency, is responsible for the implementation of most of the measures included in the energy action plan.
Beside the result that the total energy consumption of upper Austria has increased from 25% in 1993 to 30% in the year 2000 in the first phase of the energy action plan, in detail the number of installed small scale biomass heating systems is quite impressing. With a total number of 13.200 wood-chip heating systems Upper Austria has a share of 33% of the installations on the Austrian market. In 1997 the first wood pellet boilers appeared on the market and at the end of 2000 there were around 2,200 systems in operation and at the end of 2001 there were about 3.400 fully automatically wood-pellets central heating systems installed in Upper Austria, so this is a very fast market introduction for a completely new technology. Beside the number of installed systems, a group of companies offering this technology saw a quite similar boom in the last few years. Companies like Froeling, OekoFEN, Guntamatic and others are market leaders for biomass not only in Austria, but in Germany too. Growing and well developing companies have an effect on the employment and the job creation. A quite similar situation can be seen on the Austrian thermal solar collector market.