Editors Picks, Energy Efficiency, Europe, Renewables

IEA praises Austria for ‘balanced’ energy policy

The International Energy Agency focused on Austria for its 2014 country review, launched on Wednesday, and while fulsome in praise, called on Austria’s leaders to set up post-2020 targets and meet cross-border integration.

The IEA scored Austria highly for its balanced focus on security of supply, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources and noted that the country’s decarbonisation drive has strengthened as the economy and renewable energy use have continued to grow, while fossil fuel use has decreased.
Maria Van Der Hoeven IEA
The report, Energy Policies of IEA Countries – Austria 2014 Review, puts the country’s energy policy in context. As a member of the European Union, Austria shares energy policy objectives and legislation with other member countries and has less room for purely national decision-making than in the past.

“Building the European internal energy market is a case in point,” IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said when presenting the report in Vienna. “Austria should continue to advance the integration of its natural gas and electricity markets to regional markets by means of closer co-operation and co-ordination with its neighbours.”

Specifically regarding the electricity market, the IEA report emphasises the need to encourage investment in networks, optimise demand response and integrate variable renewable energy supply in a cost-effective and market-based manner.

A well-functioning internal market can help reduce the growing concerns over energy prices and costs, both for industry and for citizens and the IEA recommends that Austria could address these concerns by implementing more energy efficiency measures and facilitating greater retail market competition.

The IEA regards Austria’s security of fuel supply as robust, as oil stocks are substantially higher than required by law and gas storage capacity is significant by international comparison, but advises the government to consider increasing energy efficiency and exploring its shale gas potential.

Austria has tripled public funding for energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D) since 2007, something appreciated by the agency who used the report to encourage the government to maintain energy RD&D funding at the current levels – or, ideally, to increase it, particularly with incentives and measures to support private RD&D investment.

For more European power generation news