It is the first and foremost aim of the partnership in the long term to create a model region characterized by the use of CO2 neutral electricity from hydropower - at a fair price, affordable by the population - as well as an exemplary regionally renewable power generation. Thus, it is the declared ambition of the Region Almenland to become self-sufficient in terms of energy and CO2 neutral to the greatest extent possible.
"Climate protection is of major importance to Verbund. Therefore, we are all the more pleased to be able to use this form of regional cooperation to make a substantial contribution to CO2 reduction. An energy partnership with this highly dedicated and innovative region is very important to us and we aim to implement the projects as soon as possible, in harmony and mutual collaboration with the regional representatives," states Dr. Ulrike Baumgartner, Verbund Director of the Board.
Activating slumbering potential
The region comprises of a total of twelve municipalities encompassing an area containing over 150 hydropower plants recorded as active, only a minor part of which, however, is still in operation. The objective is to activate this potential and therefore boost the use of hydropower as an alternative source of energy in the region of Almenland.
VERBUND-Austrian Power Sales GmbH and VERBUND-Austrian Renewable Power GmbH represent the ideal partnership for this regional project - not just because of their comprehensive know how in the area of hydropower and renewable energies, but also precisely in their function as suppliers of certified CO2 neutral electricity.
Pröll to assume sponsorship
Minister of Agriculture Josef Pröll has taken on sponsorship of the energy partnership. On the occasion of the Almenland Festival Day 2008 on 27 March 2008, at which the partnership was first formally introduced, Pröll praised the energy cooperation between VERBUND-Austrian Power Sales GmbH, VERBUND-Austrian Renewable Power GmbH and "Nature Park Almendland" as being a model regional concept making a valuable contribution to climate protection, increasing regional added value and creating jobs.
EU Initiative LEADER
The energy partnership is part of the European LEADER program, a regional campaign intended to strengthen agricultural development as well as small and medium enterprises and municipalities. LEADER is aimed at the implementation of innovative concepts and cooperation projects and the networking of local partnerships, the importance here lying in the idea that strategies and projects are developed within the regions and that the processing and implementation thereof is decided on by local groups.
The LEADER program has made available funds of altogether 423 million Euro from the budgets of the European Union, the Austrian government and the Austrian federal provinces to go towards regional concepts in Austria between 2007 and 2013.