Austria is characterised by its climatic conditions and alpine natural areas. About 2/3 of the area is covered by the Alps. Harsh winter weather conditions but also approximately 48 % in total is covered by forests. Therefore, the provision with thermal energy for heating purpose has an important role in the energy landscape of Austria as well as the usage of biomass.
Around 28 % of the primary heating systems are district heating. The primary energy in district heating systems is provided by 45.4 % biomass, 35.5 % natural gas, 7.9 % residual waste. Other sources are oil (6.3 %) and coal (3.7 %). The amount of DHS has increased in the last year constantly.
There are big district heating systems in cities like Vienna and Graz as well as small – mainly renewable operated – DHS in small towns and villages. In total there are about 2,300 biomass DHS with 6,100 GWh of thermal energy. The total installed power in Austria of biomass DHS is 2.1 GW.
Current topics and challenges will be addressed in terms of energy efficiency, lowering the system temperature and integration of secondary energy sources like industrial waste heat and heat pumps. The most important goal is to increase the share of biomass and renewable energy sources in district heating systems. The aim is to ensure that the heat supply contributes to the achievement of global climate targets and that regional added value is achieved. Therefore a main focus will be addressed on the knowledge transfer between the different operators and the improvement of current facilities which will be renovated.
KeepWarm is an EU-funded project whose objective is to accelerate cost-effective investments in the modernisation of District Heating Systems (DHS). It brings together eleven project partners from a variety of relevant sectors (energy agencies, national DHS associations, agricultural chambers, research institutes, consultancies on energy efficiency and NGOs) across Central and Eastern Europe.
The aim of the initiative, launched in April 2018, is to modernise DHS around the whole region and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by improving system operations and promoting a switch to less-polluting sources, like renewables. The project partners strive to ensure that best practices for environmental-friendlier heating and cooling will be taken up across Europe, replicating KeepWarm’s approach in other countries and regions, even beyond the end of the project in September 2020.
Country project partner
The Landwirtschaftskammer Steiermark (Lk-Stmk) represents the interests of Styrian farmers since 1929. Today it has around 55'000 members. Through intensive advice activity in the past 20 years, Lk-Stmk played a decisive role in Styria's development into a model region in the field of heat and electricity production based on biomass, -gas and bio-fuel transport. Within the project, Lk-Stmk is in charge of preparing feasibility studies. It will also support DHS pilot project implementation in Austria.
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