Austrian Energy Comes Clean

Government Investment and a Network of Forty Companies Will Pioneer Innovative Technologies and Create Thousands of New Jobs

News | Margaret Childs | October 2006

Austria plans to drastically reduce its dependence on oil and other fossil fuels by next year, government officials announced in August, as they unveiled a plan to expand renewable energy sources.

The project in question is called Masterplan-Environmental Technology (Masterplan-Umwelt Technologie). Made public by Environmental Minister Joseph Pröll, the endeavor will utilize a network of 40 companies, organizations, universities and research institutes working with the government.  The idea, said Pröll, is to make Austria an attractive home for environmental technology companies, expand the technology’s infrastructure, as well as increase related exports and the awareness and use of environmental technology in Austria.

"Austria’s environmental technology sector is experiencing constant growth," Pröll said. "The volume of sales has doubled since 1993 to approximately €4 Billion and is experiencing an annual growth of 7.7 percent."

The project also hopes to expand the country’s exports of related technology, currently growing at an annual 9.1 percent.

The planned launch is 2007 and will not only benefit the environment and quality of life but also provide 6,000 new jobs in Austria, Pröll said. But it will come at a price – some 130 Billion Euro from companies, organizations and governmental institutions.

"Many of these companies have already been working with foreign markets but didn’t know about each other," said Pröll. Unlike others, this project "combines the efforts of politicians and enterprises, many of which are strong contenders in alternative energy and will now be cooperating rather than competing," he told reporters.

The upcoming EU presidency in Germany is devoting attention to Environmental matters as well, according to German Environmental Minister, Sigmar Gabriel who has praised the Austrian example and wants the EU to work in a similarly cooperative way.Government Investment and a Network of Forty Companies Will Pioneer Innovative Technologies and Create Thousands of New Jobs

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    the vienna review October 2006