The Search is on for "Austria's Climate Protection Municipality"
Once again, VERBUND, the "Lebensministerium" (Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management) and the Austrian Association of Municipalities will launch a competition this year in order to find Austria's most climate friendly municipality.
From 26 April until 20 June 2010, projects can be submitted by local authorities actively involved in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency and awareness raising in a way that is especially innovative and exemplary. "Committed municipalities play a central role in attaining our climate and energy goals. They are the pace makers on the path to Austria's energy autarchy. At the same time, they benefit from the increased utilization of renewable energy and from greater regional added value and secure green jobs through energy efficiency measures," declares Environment Minister Nikolaus Berlakovich.
The first two competitions have already met with great resonance. More than 100 projects were submitted last year. "In the municipalities there are so many excellent projects that make an important contribution to climate protection. None of these is too small or too large to be submitted. This is the opportunity to bring their efforts to a large audience as well. We municipalities know how much we accomplish. And we know that climate protection is an obligation towards the people in our local authorities," says the president of the Austrian Association of Municipalities, Mayor Helmut Mödlhammer, by way of encouraging participation.
"In a comprehensive process, we must jointly and dedicatedly tackle the issues of supply security, climate protection, sustainability and profitability. As Austria's largest electricity group, with a hydropower share of 90 percent, VERBUND is already making an important contribution in this regard in Austria today. With enormous investments in hydropower, in efficient grids, in electromobility and much more, we also want to contribute to the expansion and more efficient utilization of renewable resources, as well as to climate protection. For it is only through mutual efforts that we are able to take a large step forwards into a better energy future," says VERBUND Chairman Wolfgang Anzengruber, explaining the company's motivations to finance the competition.
Remarkable response to the competition
Last year, municipalities from all federal provinces heeded the call to enter the competition and submitted over 100 climate protection projects. The jury identified the municipalities of Strem, Virgen and Gleisdorf as Austria's Climate Protection Municipalities 2009.
Big opportunities for small municipalities
As was the case in the previous year, the submission categories have been classified in accordance with the size of the municipality. In this sense, small municipalities have better chances of success with their climate protection projects. The categories are: municipalities with fewer than 1,500 inhabitants, 1,500 through to 5,000 inhabitants, municipalities with more than 5,000 inhabitants, and associations of municipalities or energy regions, respectively.
The winners will be innovative, sustainable energy projects
Competition entries should focus on production and efficient utilization of electricity and heating. Subjects can be technical measures or projects relating to awareness raising. Projects that have not been initiated by the municipalities themselves, but which take place under the auspicies of the municipality (such as school projects, for example), may also be submitted. Points will be awarded for the degree of innovation, sustainable energy and cost efficiency, energy and emissions reductions, integration within an energy concept, as well as regional integration and role model function. Municipalities can submit their projects online from 26 April until 13 June 2010 at: http://www.gemeindebund.at
Three winners will be selected per category. The category winners will receive a full-scale, green-framed "Climate Protection Municipality 2010" place-name sign, along with 2,000 Euro in prize money. The runners-up will receive prize money in the amount of 1,000 Euro. All nine prize winners will receive an electric bicycle. Within the framework of an award ceremony, the prizes will be presented on 18 October 2010 by Environment Minister Nikolaus Berlakovich, VERBUND Chairman Wolfgang Anzengruber and Helmut Mödlhammer, President of the Austrian Association of Municipalities.