2018-03-22 ¦ Visit in Güssing, Austria

During the visit of the demo site Güssing from 22nd-23rd of March 2018, the mayor Vinzenz Knor, the managing director of Güssing centre for renewable energy, Joachim Hacker, as well as the managing director of Elektro-Güssing GmbH, Martin Zloklikovits, emphasised the great importance of energy topics for the development of the region in order to stop the outflow of young people from rural to urban areas. The abundance of natural resources such as forests and meadows was an advantage for the development of biomass and biogas power plants for the production of energy, heat and bio-fuel for cars.

Bernard Deutsch, mayor of Strem, is providing information about the biogas plant 

From grass to biogas and fertilizer

In addition to the high efficiency of all power plants, the ReFlex project partners praised the "circular-economy" approach of Strem’ biogas power plant. On the one hand, farmers have gained an important source of income by supplying grass to the plant that is later digested to produce biogas. On the other hand, they can make use of the fermentation residues to fertilize their soils.

Positive externalities should be included in the energy price

The end of Austrian subsidies for biomass power plants led to uneconomical electricity generation costs and thus to the shutdown of an international "best practice biomass power plant" including the stop of bio-diesel research projects. However, Güssing and the Ökoenergieland region will continue to rely on the use of biomass for the production of heat and biofuels, provided that the regulatory framework is appropriate and it is economically viable. The ReFlex partners emphasised during the visit that energy pricing should consider positive externalities such as the positive effects of a specific type of energy production (such as electricity production from biogas and biomass in Güssing) on the development of a region.

Güssing 2.0 – Looking for new strategies

According to the mayor of Strem, Bernard Deutsch, the current changes in Austria's energy funding and tariff system call for innovation, new strategies and business models. The energy system is changing so rapidly that it is difficult to predict how the future will look like in Güssing in 3 years time.

Güssing’ castle fortifications

Some of the questions and issues raised in Güssing will be further discussed during the 3rd Community of Practice (COP) workshop in Lausanne (4th-6th of June 2018). We are looking forward to meeting you soon in Switzerland!