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Sustainable energy sources

Sustainable energy sources, or renewables, include solar energy (photovoltaics, solar thermal), hydropower, ocean energy, wind power, geothermal energy, and ambient heat. Bioenergy is also a sustainable energy source. It comes from solid biomass such as wood, from decomposing organic matter (biogas), or from liquid biomass that is processed into biodiesel, for example.

Hydropower currently accounts for the largest share of sustainable electricity supply in Austria. It accounts for over half, with wind power holding at 10 percent. Overall, the share of green electricity in 2020 was about 75 percent.

sustainable energies in austria
Electricity generation in Austria by energy source Graph: Federal Environment Agency

Why do we need sustainable energy sources?

Sustainable energy sources are essential for environmental protection. They replace substances such as petroleum, coal or natural gas, the combustion of which is the main reason for increasing emissions of greenhouse gases worldwide, and thus also for global warming. Unlike sustainable energies, fossil energies also have limited availability.

Renewable energy sources can completely replace conventional ones. They deliver:

  • Electricity ( electrical appliances, industrial processes, electromobility, IT/EDP, or lighting)
  • Heat (buildings, industrial processes),
  • Gas (all applications same as fossil gas)
  • Energy for drives (biodiesel, bioethanol, etc.).

Renewable electricity is a key factor in achieving carbon neutrality. It is needed in large quantities, but it is not always available in the same intensity. It is therefore necessary to develop additional environmentally compatible electricity storage capacities. To increase security of supply, the European electricity markets can be more closely interconnected and the electricity sector can be coupled with other sectors – such as transport or industry – by integrating electrically powered vehicles or by generating hydrogen from electricity. This would drive the transition to sustainable energy.

Wolfgang Korne
Author: Wolfgang Korne

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