Citizens’ dialogue Schiffberg: wind power for Rainbach

23.05.2024Rainbach im Mühlkreis

In the municipalities of Rainbach and Grünbach (Freistadt district), VERBUND is currently checking out locations for seven plants around the Schiffberg. The citizens will have their say on 2 June.

Domestic energy suppliers are increasingly investing in renewable sources of energy in order to meet the growing demand for energy and at the same time become less dependent on imports. The utilisation of wind power offers great potential: VERBUND is currently checking out sites for seven turbines around the Schiffberg in the municipalities of Rainbach and Grünbach (Freistadt district).

Although Upper Austria is a latecomer to wind energy compared to the eastern federal provinces, it has attractive wind areas, particularly in the north. “The provincial government’s ambitious goal of generating 90 per cent of electricity from renewable energy by 2030 will only be achieved with a rapid expansion of wind power,” stresses Dietmar Reiner, Managing Director of VERBUND Green Power GmbH.

IMAS survey: the population wants clean electricity

In order to gauge public attitudes towards renewable forms of energy, VERBUND commissioned a survey in autumn 2023. The IMAS Institute interviewed 400 residents in the district of Freistadt between 26 September and 19 October; this revealed a high level of acceptance of wind power among residents in the district of Freistadt, emphasises Reiner.

How citizens can benefit

“The sought-after energy transition can only be realised in conjunction with the citizens,” says Lisa Csenar, Project Development VERBUND Green Power GmbH, with conviction. VERBUND therefore offers local residents the opportunity to participate financially in the energy transition with its “Climate Savings” (Klimasparen) programme. Together with a banking partner from the region, VERBUND offers a proven model of a fixed-interest investment product. Interest at a rate of up to 5% will be possible for a term of 5 years. Up to 5-10% of the investment volume is invested in this way through a one-off deposit. Up to 5,000 euros can be subscribed per person.

Low and stable electricity prices 

The wind turbines offer yet another advantage: with the VERBUND citizen electricity model, residents will receive low-cost electricity from the planned wind turbines. Citizens are guaranteed a price 9.6 cents per kilowatt hour for the first 3,500 kilowatt hours per year. Consumption in excess of this is covered by a standard VERBUND tariff. This model aims at offering neighbours direct added value from the wind turbines.

By law, wind power projects do not generate any income for municipalities. This is why VERBUND offers a compensation model so that municipal coffers are also able to benefit from clean wind power. Based on an expert opinion, VERBUND offers the municipalities compensation per plant and year to make up for lost revenue from financial equalisation and municipal tax. 

Ideal complement to hydropower and photovoltaics

A modern wind turbine supplies about as much electricity per year as 3,000 private households consume. The wind blows at any time of day or night, making wind energy the ideal complement to hydropower and photovoltaics, explains Schiffberg project manager Philipp Stöger. Together with an efficient transmission grid and pumped storage power plants, wind power secures the electricity supply for future generations. According to Stöger, no overhead lines are required for the Schiffberg project; the electricity is transported underground by cable to the substation in the Inkoba area of Apfoltern, from where it is distributed.

Wind power dialogue Schiffberg

An intensive dialogue process has been ongoing in Grünbach and Rainbach since the start of the year. At four events, regular consultations and on an excursion to the Gross-Schweinbarth wind farm in Lower Austria, neighbours were able to obtain information and put forward their questions and suggestions. “We have an excellent, constructive climate of dialogue in the municipalities with all those involved,” says project manager Phillipp Stöger.

On 2 June, the citizens of Rainbach have their say

A referendum on this future project for clean energy will be held in the municipality of Rainbach on 2 June. “To obtain a representative opinion from the survey, a high voter turnout and a clear result are necessary,” says Mayor Günter Lorenz, appealing to everyone to consider this issue carefully. Lorenz asks the citizens of Rainbach to make full use of this democratic instrument. The referendum will be held in the same way as a municipal council election; polling stations in the usual polling districts will be open from 8 am to 12 noon on the day of the referendum. Every voter is required to show photo identification.


Portrait Florian Seidl Florian Seidl

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Wind power dialogue Schiffberg

More information on the planned wind power facilities around the Schiffberg

To the Schiffberg project