VERBUND first power supplier to present climate balance sheet


VERBUND, Austria’s leading electricity company, is the first Austrian power supplier to present a climate balance sheet on the occasion of this year’s VERBUND Environment Day, the seventh since 1995.

According to this balance sheet the VERBUND group, which runs 71 hydroelectric and 5 thermal power plants, is holding a European top position as far as reduction of climate-damaging gases is concerned: VERBUND emits less than one quarter of the EU average of all power producers per generated kilowatt hour.

“The environment balance sheet shows that we have met all challenges so far, and that we have been successful in the battle against the classic air pollutants”, said Dr. Herbert Schröfelbauer, Deputy Chairman of the VERBUND Board of Management and also responsible for Operations, Environment and Research, at a press conference in Vienna today.

“As large producer of renewable energy”, Mr. Schröfelbauer said, “we are now looking at how we can contribute to the protection of the atmosphere at an Austrian and an international level by increasing the efficiency in our power production and through our newly appointed Climate Protection Officer as well as even more research.“

The dust emissions of the VERBUND thermal power plants – Dürnrohr, Voitsberg and St. Andrae, Zeltweg and Korneuburg (the latter two in reserve since the beginning of this year) – stand at 0.1 grams/kilowatt hour (1980: 3.5 g/kWh). Sulfur dioxide emissions have been reduced from 17 to less than 1 g/kWh at present, and nitrogen oxide emissions have decreased from 2.2 to 0.6 g/kWh.

Depending on the utilization of the power plants the emission of carbon dioxide, the main Kyoto gas, ranges between 2 and 2.5 million tons per year or specifically between 0.8 and 1 kilogram/kilowatt hour. Spread over the whole VERBUND production the CO2 emission rate is only 0.09 kg/kWh for the year 2000. This value is unrivalled in Europe. Only EdF has comparably low CO2 emission rates due to its nuclear power production.

The VERBUND climate balance sheet was prepared in collaboration with the Austrian Federal Environment Office. It includes the climate-relevant emissions, which were recorded and documented according to the international codes that are in effect at present.

The main outcomes of this project are:

- The recording of emission data has been very accurate (+/– 2%).

- The major climatic-active emission is CO2.

- For the first time a scientifically well-founded balancing system is possible for the whole area of VERBUND thermal power.

- The international guidelines that exist but are not yet binding, for example those issued by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), can be met.

“We shall continue working on our climate strategy on the basis of our data and the requirements that will come up, and we will present it in compliance with an accepted Austrian strategy”, Mr. Schröfelbauer said.

VERBUND Award for Renewable Energy

This year VERBUND received the Environment Ministry’s water power award “Neptune” for the matrix turbine in the Vienna Danube power plant of Freudenau. This award is handed over to the Institute for Hydraulic Engineering of the Technical University of Graz now. “We are using this award also as an opportunity to present our own VERBUND Award for Renewable Energy. It will be awarded once a year, starting in 2002”, said Mr. Schröfelbauer.

The award includes prize money of 10,000 Euro (approx. 137,000 ATS). It will be awarded for concrete new approaches in increasing the power output generated from renewable energy. The focus group is above all the new generation of scientists in Austria. These young people are to be encouraged to carry out very concrete and field-oriented work with the goal of developing projects in this country.

Companies Need Planning Security

“With the due care and diligence of a prudent businessman VERBUND must proceed from the premise that the Kyoto Protocol will be ratified by all EU member states”, explained the Climate Protection Officer Peter Koren. Notwithstanding the current development in the USA the European Council of Gothenburg abides by Kyoto and hopes for a breakthrough at next month’s international meeting in Bonn on implementing the accord.

Within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol Austria undertook to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by a total of 13 % on the basis of 1990 within the reference time 2008/2012. The national implementation of the Kyoto goals is to be realized on the basis of the Federal government’s climate strategy, which is currently an object of negotiation. The draft is there. It demands from the electricity industry not only a 13% but an 18% reduction of the greenhouse gases, however. “This is an over-proportional burden on the electricity industry”, stated Mr. Koren.

Moreover, in its energy projection the WiFo (Economic Research Institute) predicts a 1.6 % annual increase in power consumption. This would mean an increase in emissions of approx. 1.5 million tons of CO2-equivalent up to the year 2010 from district-heating stations and the electricity industry, which additionally would have to be borne by the industry. This must be taken into account in the climate strategy’s scenario of trends.

“Furthermore, we demand that the measures included in the climate strategy will actually be implemented in all areas, e.g. also in the politically sensitive transportation sector”, said Mr. Koren.