The largest of the country’s nine states has announced that 100 per cent of all its generated electricity now comes from renewable sources.
Erwin Proell, the premier of Lower Austria, said at a news conference that heavy investment in energy efficiency has started to pay off. ‘We have invested heavily to boost energy efficiency and to expand renewables,’ he said.‘Since 2002 we have invested €2.8billion (£1.98billion) in eco-electricity, from solar parks to renewing (hydroelectric) stations on the Danube.’
Those hydroelectric stations are responsible for 63 per cent of Lower Saxony’s electricity. Wind energy produces about 26 per cent and biomass and solar generate 9 and 2 per cent respectively. Another happy consequence of Austria’s investment is the creation of 38,000 jobs in the green industry. Lower Saxony officials anticipate 50,000 positions by 2030.
Austria, 75 per cent of which is now powered by green energy, is the European leader in renewable power. Sweden, Portugal, Latvia and Denmark make up the top five
Some countries are blessed with renewable energy resources. Austria with hydro, Portugal with solar/ wind and Denmark with wind. The investment is a major commitment but the long term benefits are immeasurable for countries that make the investment to renewable energy. Energy security and independence is a major plus in the future when resources become scarce and prices sky rocket through competition. You can see many examples of wars being fought over securing energy resources. Many countries in the European block are dependent on Russian gas and we have seen how that card has been played many times.
Not having to import energy sources is great for the account deficit or the balance of payments for imports and exports. Having a cheap, dependable power resource will in future years give countries a huge manufacturing advantage over competitors forced to purchase nuclear and fossil fuelsat much higher prices.
Finally but not least are the environmental benefits. Come visit China someday when you can hardly breathe in some cites due to coal and oil fired power stations. I am not talking about CO2 and global warming, just smog from coal fired power stations.
The countries that prospered in the middle of last century invested heavily on infrastructure and have reaped the dividends. I may be biased but we have a responsability to future generation. The real question is not why should we, but why many counties have failed to do anything. Their economies will come into question in the next few decades when they can no longer afford to compete with other countries that have secured cheap and renewable energy sources.
I will now descend from the soap box. The future is not about us, but our children and grand children. My quest started when my daughter asked “what are you going to do about the mess your generation created?” Tough words from a 12 year old at the time, but those words changed my life. So what are we going to do?
The answers, technology and examples are here. Its about policy and the will of the people to change. Politicians need to make long term investments not the one term decisions we see today. We the people need to support these decions