Austria’s contribution to the 2030 EU climate targets

The Governance Regulation of the European Union commits all Member States to submit their national climate and energy plans (NECP) to the European Commission by the end of 2019. These must contain measures and targets designed to facilitate a fundamental shift in the electricity, heating and transport sectors towards a decarbonised energy system. This has profound implications for all Europeans. Wien Energie is at the very forefront of the fight to ensure that the future of energy is free from CO2. We will invest EUR 1 billion by 2023 in efforts to create a decarbonised energy system.

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Background information

Austria submitted the first draft of its plan to the European Commission, which is based on the #mission2030 climate and energy strategy adopted in May 2018. The European Commission evaluated the plans submitted by the Member States in mid-2019 and made recommendations for action. Austria now has time to make the corresponding adjustments to its plans until the end of 2019.

The EU’s climate targets for 2030 have been broken down into national targets reflecting the specific conditions in each Member State. The following targets have been defined for Austria:

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 36 percent
  • Increasing the share of end energy consumption stemming from renewable energies to 45-50 percent
  • Improving energy efficiency by 25-30 percent

The NECP mostly refers to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (Erneuerbaren Ausbau Gesetz, EAG) when it comes to the electricity sector. In addition to creating the framework conditions for decentralised power generation and renewable energy communities, the feed-in tariff subsidy should be converted to a market-compliant funding system using market premiums and tenders. The aim of setting up a programme to install photovoltaic and small-scale storage systems on 100,000 roofs is to create an incentive for more roofs to be used for PV power generation. Another measure contained in the plan, namely to repeal the tax on self-generated electricity, was adopted as part of the tax reform. A system of quotas for feeding in biogas and renewable hydrogen (‘greening the gas’) is also part of the ministry’s draft.

The share of renewable energy sources used in the transport sector should be increased to at least 14 percent by 2030 through the use of biofuels and increasing the share of e-mobility. Moreover, at least 50 percent of newly registered passenger cars are to be powered electrically by 2030. The target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 31 percent by 2030 (compared to 2016), i.e. 7.2 million tonnes of CO2, was also included in the plan. To achieve this goal, not only is it necessary to expand the use of electrified means of public transport but also to have comprehensive funding available for public and private charging infrastructure as well as for electric vehicles. In addition to purchase subsidies and tax relief, the Energy and Climate Plan also provides for legal relief in housing law as regards the installation of charging points at home in order to make this option more convenient for everyday use.

The National Energy and Climate Plan aims to replace fossil fuels, notably fossil-based gas, with renewable energy systems and efficient district heating. Buildings erected after 2020 should be designed to avoid using fossil fuels for indoor heating, hot water and cooling. By 2030, about half of the current 700,000 or so oil-fired heating systems are to be replaced by innovative renewable energy systems, with all oil-fired heating systems being replaced by 2050.

Renovation rates among existing buildings should be increased from one percent to two percent so as to help the process of replacing heating systems. Nor should the natural gas network be expanded any more than absolutely necessary. By gradually replacing fossil fuels with renewable gas, phasing out oil-fired heating systems and increasing the use of efficient renewable energy, district heating and cooling over the long term, it should be possible to achieve a 37 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (compared to 2016), the equivalent of three million tonnes of CO2. Further details of the proposed measures are set out in a separate heating strategy.

In June 2019, the European Commission submitted its written assessment of the Austrian climate plan, according to which it takes the view that the current plan does not meet the legal requirements and corresponding adjustments need to be made. In its written reply, the Commission recommended ten measures to be incorporated into the Austrian plan by the end of 2019. Clear and transparent reasons must be given if a measure is not incorporated into the plan. Generally speaking, the Commission believes that targets and actions need to be described in more detail and that appropriate resources should be allocated to finance them. There is a particular need to improve action in the area of energy efficiency, with additional details being required for both the targets and the intended measures. It also states that there should be a clear plan of action as to how to remove subsidies that are damaging to the environment. Austria now has until the end of 2019 to incorporate the changes and submit the final plan to the Commission.

Our demands

The National Energy and Climate Plan plays a major role for Wien Energie, as supporting efforts to supply energy in an environmentally-friendly way is a core focus of ours. However, the right regulatory framework is needed in order for us to be able to do as much as we can to help achieve the climate targets.

We have prepared a separate document here on our demands as regards the Expansion of Renewable Energy Sources Act (Erneuerbaren Ausbau Gesetz, EAG).

In order to be able to achieve the ambitious transport targets, Wien Energie is calling for the following:

  • Changes in housing law in order to enable the infrastructure for private charging points to be expanded
  • The standardisation of upstream infrastructure for charging stations and funding for these
  • Amendments to the Metering and Calibration Act (Mess- und Eichgesetz) to display prices on Internet-capable devices.

In order to ensure the efficient supply of heat to the City of Vienna, Wien Energie is calling for the following:

  • Sufficient subsidies for waste heat and environmental heat in district heating
  • Sufficient funding for the Heating and Cooling Pipeline Expansion Act (Wärme-Kälteleitungsausbaugesetz, WKLG)
  • Avoiding simultaneous gas and district heating infrastructure

Further information

Your contact person

Micha Gruber
Micha Gruber

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