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Review of the Annual Event ‚Energy Model Region’ – ‘Fit for 55 Made in Austria’

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by Oxana Schmidt

Under the motto ‘Fit for 55 Made in Austria’, the Climate and Energy Fund presented highlights from the RTI initiative ‘Energy Model Region’ at the annual event on 19 October 2021 in Graz. The three Model Regions Green Energy Lab (GEL), New Energy for Industry (NEFI) and Hydrogen Initiative Model Region Austria Power & Gas (WIVA P&G) presented their projects and discussed the current challenges and ways to successful decarbonisation with representatives from the projects and industry in the Helmut List Hall.

Storage technologies for industrial waste heat utilisation, possible applications of renewable hydrogen or smart connection of users to a sustainable energy system – these are successful examples from the ‘Energy Showcase Regions’. Across Austria, 63 projects are being implemented with more than 230 partners and 212 million euros in project costs, triggered by a funding budget of 84 million euros so far, endowed with funds from the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK).

A special highlight was the visit and the impulse statement by Federal Minister Leonore Gewessler in Graz: ‘With the ‘Energy Model Region’ we are shaping Austria’s energy future. and supporting ambitious companies in the energy transition. This is how many regional green jobs are created. Styrian companies are very present in all three showcase energy regions and drive the projects forward with their know-how and innovative strength. Thank you for this spirit – only in this way can we together achieve our goal, climate neutrality 2040 – for Austria and at the same time boost the economy.’

Keynote: Innovation Funding from the National Government´Side

The fact that innovation funding from the state is a right means for effective important and socially just climate protection was confirmed by Tom Krebs, Professor of Macroeconomics and Economic Policy at the University of Mannheim and advisor to the German Ministry of Finance on economic policy issues, in his keynote on “The Age of Missions – Shaping the Energy Transition through Mission-Oriented Innovation Policy”.

NEFI panel discussion with industry experts

‘Fit for 55’ is the motto of the European Commission’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990. In order to achieve this goal and become climate-neutral in the long term, great efforts are needed above all to drive forward the transformation of the industrial energy system.

Thomas Kienberger, Head of the Chair of Energy Verbund Technology at the University of Leoben and NEFI CSC, moderated these exciting questions and challenges for decarbonising industry with Herbert Fohringer, Managing Director of Stahl- und Walzwerk Marienhütte GmbH, Helmut Leibinger, Head of Plant/Process Engineering at Südbayerisches Portland-Zementwerk Gebr. Wiesböck & Co. GmbH and Jürgen Secklehner, Managing Director Seccon GmbH.

To the NEFI video (in German)

To the recording of the entire event (In German)