VERBUND and Hohe Tauern National Park: Working Hand in Hand to Promote Climate Protection

7/3/2013Heiligenblut

Successful education programme VERBUND Hohe Tauern National Park Climate School is continued and expanded

For three years now VERBUND and Hohe Tauern National Park has been setting a living standard for climate protection with the innovative and free educational programme "VERBUND Hohe Tauern National Park Climate School". More than 5,500 pupils have taken part in the excellent climate lessons given by the UNESCO since the inception of the climate school. By 2013, 10,000 additional students from the National Park provinces Carinthia, Salzburg and Tyrol are expected to attend.

Against the backdrop of the Pasterze glacier - an indicator of the climate change as well as a source of hydroelectricity generation – it became clear today at a press meeting that a history featuring different positions can lead to a success story for climate protection. In 2010, the mobile VERBUND Hohe Tauern National Park climate school was incepted – with the goal of putting young people in the position of having to consider the impact of their everyday actions on the climate. The knowledge transmitted by National Park rangers at the climate school is processed, researched and discovered; there is no judgemental or patronising demeanour. So far, more than 5,500 pupils have participated in this UNESCO acclaimed climate education. For VERBUND CEO Wolfgang Anzengruber it is a complete and utter success showing that "partners with former different opinions today are uniting their forces for the cause of climate protection and meeting their responsibilities towards society together."

VERBUND climate school is expanded


The mobile, outreaching and free climate project education programme is also internationally acclaimed. The UNESCO has awarded the offer with the title "Project of the Decade" of the UN decade "Education for sustainable development". Surveys taken after the project education show that 80% of the students take their newly gained knowledge to their families and contribute to a change in behaviour, be that in form of lunch pack contents, the choice of transport means or in daily shopping.

International acclaim for sustainability


The mobile, outreaching and free climate project education programme is also internationally acclaimed. The UNESCO has awarded the offer with the title "Project of the Decade" of the UN decade "Education for sustainable development". Surveys taken after the project education show that 80% of the students take their newly gained knowledge to their families and contribute to a change in behaviour, be that in form of lunch pack contents, the choice of transport means or in daily shopping.

VERBUND electricity is climate protection


VERBUND is Austria's leading electricity company and of the main producers of hydroelectricity in Europe. More that four fifths of VERBUND's electricity is generated from hydropower, supplemented by efficient thermal power and wind power. The focus of VERBUND's environmental commitment is on climate protection. A major contribution is made here by both existing and future power plants. Every new kilowatt hour of hydropower reduces gases harmful to the climate in a sustainable manner. Therefore, VERBUND will, in future, exclusively invest in emission-free electricity generation technologies. The supporting pillar of hydropower is the backbone of the company and, at the same time, a massive load off the domestic climate. 24,890 kilo tons of CO2 were saved in 2012 compared to electricity generation by thermal power plants. 
                                                                                                                  

Committed towards environmental protection


Influenced by historical experiences, VERBUND has demonstrated a strong commitment towards environmental protection for decades, be that in form of nature conservation measures as a concomitant to power plant construction or emission purification systems in thermal plants. So far, we have invested several hundred million euro in environment and nature conservation. VERBUND operates 125 hydropower plants in Austria and Bavaria. Approx. 30% of the respective power plant areas in Austria were placed under nature protection. That is a total of 3,800 hectares; added to that is a further 1,000 hectares on line routes.

Carinthia


The biotope of Föderlach at the VERBUND Drau power plant at Rosegg St. Jakob is the youngest of the nature conservation areas. In 2009, VERBUND enlarged the area by a 10-hectares shallow water biotope. In the 18-hectare shallow water biotope of Neudenstein near the Drau power plant of Edling, beavers were once again spotted after more than 100 years of their conspicuous absence in Carinthia.

Salzburg


During the construction of Limberg II pumped storage power plant in Kaprun, pioneer work was completed in collaboration with the Haus der Natur Institute of Ecology: it was considered virtually impossible to implement renaturation measures in the high alpine region. However, in a joint effort, this theory was disproved: the areas originally borrowed from nature are today back in nature's possession in their entirety.

Tirol


VERBUND's pumped storage power plants in Zillertal are "green batteries" with a special significance in the interaction with electricity from wind and solar power: With their help, the electricity generated from wind and sun can be stored and adapted to the requirements of the consumers and made available in this form. The green batteries of Schlegeis, Stillup and Zillergründl are located in the area of the Zillertal Alps high-altitude nature park. The nature park, established after the construction of the power plant, makes it clear that hydropower and the environment are partners and benefit from the symbiosis of all areas. As a sign of the environmental protection practiced in the everyday work routine also, an environmental mission statement has been in use in the VERBUND work group of Zillertal since 2012 and its implementation certified by Quality Austria.