BY: ZOE MELNYK
Austria’s lower and largest state recently entered the world’s green energy game by becoming 100 per cent reliant on renewable energy sources.
With the Danube River coming down from the country’s large mountain chain, flowing violently through the southern state of Austria, it’s a renewable energy hotspot that provides two thirds of the state’s energy. The remaining third comes from wind, biomass, and solar power, according to an article in IFL Science.
The Danube River provides two thirds of the state’s energy.
That’s a total of 1.65 million people in an area slightly smaller than the state of Vermont, relying solely on the power generated from the Earth.
The rest of the country isn’t doing so bad, either. Northeastern Austria also relies 100 per cent on renewable energy while the country as a whole is around 70 per cent. That’s compared to about 17 per cent in Canada and 11 per cent in the US.
Saving the planet isn’t free though. In an interview with The Guardian, Erwin Proell, the state’s premier, admitted that 2.8 billion euros have gone into creating a greener country since 2002.
There is a bright side to going green besides what some people see as an unnecessary expense: the new jobs.
From building and running solar parks to renewing hydroelectric stations along the Danube amongst other green work, Lower Austria has created 38,00 green jobs, and according to Proell, that number is supposed to jump to 50,000 in the next fifteen years.
The news puts Austria in the big leagues now as far as green energy goes, beating countries like Sweden, Latvia, Portugal, and Denmark for national energy share.
It also came out just in time for the Climate Change Conference happening in Paris this month. Austria is far beyond the EU’s initiative to produce 20 per cent of their energy from renewable resources by 2020.
According to an article in Energy, Sustainability and Society, EU members are “obliged to reach national targets regarding the share of renewables in their national energy consumption, including the heating, transport, and power sectors.”
This means that countries like Norway and now Austria will be pulling the EU out of its carbon emissions crisis and provide a leading example of how to transfer from nuclear power to renewable resources.
Countries like the United Kingdom trailing behind with goals of 15 per cent renewable resources will have to turn to Austria as a leading example on how to embrace green living.