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IWS: “None of the targets can be reached by 2030 or 2040”

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IWS: “None of the targets can be reached by 2030 or 2040”

Criticism of the National Energy and Climate Plan (NEKP)

Linz (OTS) – “We have to be very critical of the recently submitted draft of the National Energy and Climate Plan because, according to our experts, none of the goals specified in the NEKP will be achievable,” states Gottfried Kneifel, Managing Director of the Upper Austrian Business Location Initiative (IWS), and at the same time calls for more critical journalism on technology, climate and energy issues. “In all efforts to combat climate change, the laws of physics and logic must not be completely overridden and replaced by ideology and wishful thinking.”

DI Bruno Lindorfer, energy and climate expert at the initiative for business location Upper Austria, emphasizes that it is incomprehensible that Green Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler has again tightened the already difficult to achieve EU goals in the draft. In Lindorfer’s opinion, at least parts of Gewessler’s climate goals do not make sense, e.g. For example, the “balance sheet” target of 100 percent renewable electricity in Austria for one year:

100 percent renewable electricity in Austria by 2030 can only be achieved “on the balance sheet” if photovoltaics (PV) are massively expanded – which would be theoretically possible. Balance sheet means summarily for the whole year. But that is of little use: more than 75 percent of the PV electricity is generated in the months of March to September, but from October to February the yield of the PV electricity is less than 25 percent. If we switch the heating to electric heat pumps in Austria, as BM Gewessler wants, we will need most of the electricity in the months from November to February. Therefore, the goal of “100 percent from renewable electricity on the balance sheet over the year” does not make sense, on the contrary, the massive expansion of PV electricity will lead to massive electricity surpluses in the summer months that cannot be used and stored for the winter.

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“If we massively expand PV, Austria will be drowning in PV electricity in the summer from around 2028 – which we cannot export in the summer either, because in the future all countries that are expanding PV will be drowning in excess electricity in the summer!” Lindorfer specifies.

In the months from November to February Austria will still have a shortage of renewable electricity for a long time. Gewessler’s current massive push for heating with electric heat pumps should therefore only be given in unison with the increase in renewable electricity generation in the months of November to February. A lot of PV electricity in July does not help the heat pumps in December.

Austria is currently importing a relatively large amount of coal and nuclear power from abroad (Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, etc.) in the months from November to February. This will most likely no longer be possible in 2030, because all EU countries will have to massively phase out coal-fired power and the construction of new nuclear power plants will take about 15 years – so at the earliest 2023 + 15 = 2038! According to all energy experts, electricity consumption will increase by a factor of approx. 2.5 in all EU countries with climate neutrality, especially in winter – electric heat pumps, e-cars, conversion of the steel industry, the cement industry and the chemical industry to green hydrogen from renewable electricity.

Electricity consumption in Austria was around 74 TWh in 2022, but that was only around 20 percent of the total primary energy consumption, which still consists of around 75 percent fossil fuels (shares in Austrian primary energy consumption in 2022: oil around 40 percent, natural gas around 28 percent, coal around 7 percent). When climate neutrality is achieved (2040?), the consumption of renewable electricity in Austria will be around 180 TWh (+/- 25 percent, depending on economic development).

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In the future, VOEST alone will need approx. 33 TWh of renewable electricity for green steel production with green hydrogen, which is already a lot (approx. twice as much as if all approx. five million cars in Austria were converted to e‑cars)!

Due to the EU’s strict CO2 rules, there is a risk that the very energy-intensive liquid phase of steel production will be relocated from the EU to less environmentally conscious non-EU countries. But that would not help global warming, because VOEST is one of the cleanest steelworks and the steel would then be produced in dirtier steelworks in China or the Ukraine from 2040 onwards. It’s similar in the chemical and cement industries.

Details on the energy transition under ttps://iwsooe.at/energiewende-in-oesterreich-in-der-eu-und-global/

Questions & contact:

Upper Austria business location initiative
Professor Gottfried Kneifel
IWS Managing Director

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