The Austrian Wind Power Disaster

According to a current study on the potential of wind energy and its effects on climate change, health, the environment, water use and other sustainability factors, wind energy is the most promising form of energy. With 43% of newly installed capacity in the EU in 2008, wind power is an integral element of European renewable energy investments. Moreover, the wind sector is an important area for job cration as jobs in this sector are expected to double in Europe in the next 10 years.

There’s no doubt about the ecologic and economic potential of wind power. The sadder and more dangerous is it when Austria only observes the growth of European wind energy from the outside, thereby ignoring tremendous chances for new and sustainable jobs in times of crisis. The reason for this is Austria’s heavily criticized amendment to its Eco-electricity Act.

Due to this regulatory environment, only 14 MW of wind power capacity were installed in Austria in 2008 which corresponds to a 95% decrease compared to 2003! It is necessary that Austria changes its regulatory framework (e.g. by adopting the German feed-in tariffs) in order to enable wind power investments again as the money for this attractive form of investment would clearly be available. This is especially true as Austrian wind energy exports recently increased by 20% due to the European wind energy boom.

It’s time to act instead of gambling with our clean energy future and sustainable job opportunities. Let us follow France or other European countries by establishing attractive feed-in tariffs, tax reliefs and a positive regulatory environment!

Posted on March 19, 2009 in Climate Change

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About the Author

Andreas Lindinger is a Vienna-based business consultant, sustainability expert and urban thinker passionate about livable cities, sustainable transportation, renewable energy and civic engagement. Andreas offers a transdisciplinary business, finance and sustainability background, industry expertise in energy, mobility and environmental consulting and broad international experience gained in Vienna, Vancouver, Berlin and Dublin. Make sure to also check out Vienncouver.com and to follow @lindinger on Twitter.

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