BDO Energy Talks – Can the energy transition succeed?

BDO Energy Talks – Can the energy transition succeed?

Karl Newertal, partner and industry expert for alternative energy at BDO, for the sixth time invited renowned specialists from the Austrian energy industry to BDO’s Energy Talks. Dr. Horst Brandlmaier, OeMAG Abwicklungsstelle für Ökostrom AG, DI Mag. (FH) Gerhard Christiner, Austrian Power Grid AG, DI (FH) Mag. (FH) Martin Graf, Energie Steiermark and DI Vera Immitzer, Photovoltaic Austria, discussed the current status of the expansion of renewable energies and the challenges the energy transition brings along.

In his keynote speech, Gerhard Christiner (Chairman of the Technical Board of APG) emphasized that meeting the 2030 climate targets would require a total systemic restructuring of Austria's grids and, above all, storage options to be comprehensively increased. Furthermore, he emphasized the importance of a long-term and cross-border grid expansion for operators as well as for customers. "The future-oriented expansion of the grid is the be-all and end-all in order to distribute renewable energies in Europe in a sensible manner and to create price homogeneity," said DI Gerhard Christiner.

DI (FH) Mag. (FH) Martin Graf (Board Director of Energie Steiermark) took the same line and pointed out that in the past the energy grids were expanded analogously to the development of power plants, but that our current grid infrastructure is too weak for the rapidly built renewable energies, such as photovoltaic systems. „We need to increase investments in the networks in Styria from 100 to 150 million per year in order to create an efficient infrastructure," explained the expert. Furthermore, he referred to current challenges such as the delay of already planned projects, the shortage of skilled workers and also the long delivery times of components caused by the Covid 19 crisis.

Dr. Horst Brandlmaier (Board Member of OeMAG) added that due to the lack of production capacities and the resulting shortage of energy in connection with limited electricity transport capacities at European level, a strong increase in electricity prices could already be observed in Austria. However, the planned continuous expansion of power generation plants based on renewable energy could counteract this. “The industry needs planning certainty for individual projects in order to secure financing. We are both willing and able to make our contribution to the implementation of the energy transition and thus to the achievement of the 2030 climate targets“, Brandlmaier emphasized.

DI Vera Immitzer (Managing Director of Photovoltaic Austria) explained that huge capacity increases are planned in the field of photovoltaic plants. “In order to convert the energy supply in Austria to renewable energies by 2030, it is necessary to build as many plants each year as in the entire past five years together,“ the energy-expert substantiated. In her closing remarks, she made an urgent appeal to politicians at federal and especially at state level to finally get down to business and make their laws PV-compatible.

All panelists agreed on this and on the need for planning certainty for projects and grid expansion. „The successful energy transition in Austria and the achievement of the targets by 2030 is entirely feasible, but requires all stakeholders to pull together. The Renewable Energy Expansion Act is only the starting signal for a process that must now be pursued consistently," host Karl Newertal concluded.

The "Energy Talks" series of events offers a forum to all interested parties in which representatives from a wide range of areas in the energy sector can exchange ideas and experiences.


Photo: © BDO_Krisztian Juhasz

Caption: From left to right: DI Mag. (FH) Gerhard Christiner, Austrian Power Grid AG, DI (FH) Mag. (FH) Martin Graf, Energie Steiermark, DI Vera Immitzer, Photovaltaic Austria, Dr. Horst Brandlmaier, OeMAG Abwicklungsstelle für Ökostrom AG and Mag. Karl Newertal, Partner and Industry Expert Alternative Energy at BDO.

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