The US IEA has launched a review of Austrian energy policies and has praised the country for its balanced focus on security of supply, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. The country’s decarbonisation drive has strengthened as the economy and renewable energy use have continued to grow, while fossil fuel use has decreased. At the same time, the country is working to improve energy security and energy market functioning.
As a member of the EU, Austria shares energy policy objectives and legislation with other member countries and has less room for purely national decision making than in the past. IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said of the report, ‘Building the European internal energy market is a case in point. Austria should continue to advance the integration of its natural gas and electricity markets to regional markets by means of closer cooperation and coordination with its neighbours.’
Security of supply
The IEA regards Austria’s security of supply as robust, as oil stocks are substantially higher than required by law and gas storage capacity is significant by international comparison. However, Austria can enhance its energy security by increasing energy efficiency and producing more gas domestically. For that reason, Austria should explore its shale gas potential.
Highlighting a success story, Austria has more than tripled public funding for energy research, development and demonstration since 2007. The IEA report encourages 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.
Although Austria’s GHG emissions from energy use peaked in 2005, they need to be reduced, according to van der Hoeven, and the transport sector offers prime opportunities for this. In the context of EU negotiations on an energy and climate policy framework to 2030, Austria should develop a strategy that integrates security of supply, sustainability and internal market dimensions.
- Develop a post 2020 energy and climate strategy that integrates security of supply and internal market dimensions with GHG emissions reduction.
- Addressing concerns over energy prices and costs by further promoting energy efficiency and greater retail market competition.
- Continuing the drive towards cross border integration of both electricity and natural gas markets.
Adapted from press release by Claira Lloyd
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