Güssing committed to renewable energy
Güssing - Best practice in Renewable Energy
Güssing is a small town in the south east of Austria with 4.000 inhabitants. Güssing is also the capital town of the Güssing region with 27.000 inhabitants.
In 1988, this region was still one of the poorest in Austria according to statistics. On account of the geographically unfavorable location near the border, major trade or industrial businesses did not exist at that time and the whole district did not have any transportation infrastructure at all (neither railroad nor highway). This resulted in a scarcity of jobs, 70 % weekly commuters, and a high rate of migration to other regions. In addition, there was the problem of substantial capital outflow from the region caused by energy bought from outside (oil, power, fuels), while existing resources (e.g. 45 % forest land) remained largely unused. This resulted in a drain of money of 6,1 Mio EUR (1991).
“Model Güssing” - Decentralized local energy production by using the local available renewable resources
By using our own renewable resources in our own energy production plants and selling these forms of energy to our own population the money circulates within our region. This model is not new; it's used since decades in the area of drinking water and sewage, therefore people know this model and they use it.
The implementation of the innovative energy concept set off a sustainable process, which transformed the formerly low economy of the region within 15 years into a region with a high economic status.
One of the first infrastructure improvements, i.e. the installation of the district heating system Güssing (1996) made the town on the border already an interesting location for the establishment of businesses. A special scheme promoting the establishment of enterprises in the area brought 50 new enterprises with more than 1,000 direct and indirect jobs in the renewable energy sector for the region. Güssing has since developed into an important location in the fields of parquetry production, hardwood drying, and environmental technologies.
As a matter of fact the most important improvement in the Güssing development of renewable energy was the installation of a biomass power plant in 2001.
The European Center for Renewable Energy (Europäisches Zentrum für Erneuerbare Energie EEE), founded in 1996, serves as central coordinator for the “Model Güssing” project and the numerous sub-tasks involved. EEE headquarters are situated in the “Güssing Technology Center” focusing on Environment Technologies, which was established in cooperation with the Federal Province of Burgenland. In order to facilitate the dissemination of experience in the field of renewable energy sources, a network including regional, national, and international partners has been founded. Numerous of invitations and presentations at international conferences (EU, UNIDO; OSCE etc.) underline the EEEs sought after competence.
A great number of cooperation projects (“BEN”, “Make it be”, “Coach Bioenergy” – projects within the framework of “Intelligent Energy Europe” and “Central Europe”, which are direct fund programs of the EU) serve to develop sustainable regional concepts for the use of renewable energy sources and to implement concrete projects.
On account of its experience concerning the development of energy concepts, the EEE may also offer advice and act as an agent for potential customers and manufacturers of plant equipment.
With the help of energy concepts, which the EEE offers based on the „Model of Güssing“, it should work to change the energy system of communities and regions long term to renewable energy sources.
The EEE Network rests on five pillars:
Within a radius of 10 km around Güssing there are more than 30 plants using various technologies; visiting the plants is possible anytime. The most innovative plant is the Güssing biomass plant based on FICFB wood gasification technology for the production of heat, electricity and also synthetic natural gas and synthetic liquid fuels.
Research & Development
The realization of the biomass plant Güssing in the year 2001 and the establishment of the research network “Bioenergy 2020+” (Technical University Vienna and Graz, Johanneum Research Graz etc.) and the Güssing research company “GET – Güssing Energy Technologies” competence network gave rise to the launching of numerous national and international “renewable energy” research projects in Güssing. The “European Center for Renewable Energy” - EEE coordinates all demonstration plants, projects, research emphases as well as programs for training and further education in this field. The manifold research activities here have also contributed to the attractiveness of the region and to the creation of additional high-quality jobs.
Training and Further Education
A comprehensive program with events and seminars offers information about innovative technologies and projects. In addition, there are special projects and educational programs designed for schools. The various measures aim at raising awareness for renewable energy and to ensure continued development and quality assurance in the field of biomass plants.
An important improvement in the field of education will be the installation of the so called “Solar School”, a transnational project between Austria and Hungary, for training in the fields of photovoltaic, heat out from solar panels and heat pumps etc.
On account of its experience concerning the development of energy concepts, the Center may also offer advice and act as agent for potential customers and manufacturers of plant equipment.
With the help of energy concepts, which the EEE offers based on the „Model of Güssing“, it should work to change the energy system of communities and regions long term to renewable energy sources. Every region possesses of other resources in a different amount. Every region has a different energy demand, depending on inhabitants, area and economy. At the beginning of all considerations, the energy saving potential should be detected. This potential is also different in every region. Due to these reasons the European Centre of Renewable Energies (EEE GmbH) offers energy concepts especially and customized for communities and regions.
Green Energy Tourism
At present, 15.000 people from all over the world come to Güssing each year to visit the numerous demonstration plants (biomass, biogas, solar and photovoltaic installations). Green energy tourism has become an additional economic sector of great importance for the region. In addition, networking with cultural and sports organizations results in various joint activities (e.g. eco-energy marathon).
European Center for Renewable Energy - www.eee-info.net
Güssing Energy Technologies - www.get.ac.at
Information about wood gasification technology at the biomass plant Güssing - www.ficfb.at/
Güssing Renewable Energies GREG - www.guessingrenewableenergy.com
das ökoEnergieland – Tourist information regarding guided tours and plant visitations - www.oekoenergieland.at
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