As Austria's leading electricity provider as well as TOP-4- hydropower producer of Europe and a sustainable company, Verbund sees it as a given to be dedicated to the climate-friendly further development of the energy infrastructure. As such, the Verbund has committed to a clear strategic goal for the future: In the years to come, Verbund will further expand its position as an international player on the renewable energy sector with a focus on Europe. Against this backdrop, it only makes sense to discuss the situation with international experts within the setting of the Verbund energy conference energy2020.
Not only Europe, but also all other global economic spaces are faced with great energy challenges. Every energy strategy thus has to be developed in harmony with global standards – according to energy-2020 conference motto "global energy challenge – time to act."
More than 80% of worldwide energy requirements are covered by fossil fuels; a still mere 13% is covered by renewable energies and 6% by nuclear energy. The International Energy Agency's forecasts regarding global energy consumption of plus 45% by 2030 – corresponding to three times the current energy consumption of the EU – mean that, on the one hand, access to fossil raw materials will become more pressing than ever before and, on the other hand, it is increasingly important to find alternatives to fossil fuels, as well as new technologies and measures for energy efficiency.
Electricity percentage in total energy consumption will rise
European development in Verbund's core competency, electricity production, shows the following picture: the credit crunch causes only a temporary, not a structural, slowdown in energy consumption. A further increase in consumption is thus to be expected. Hence, in order to guarantee a sustainable supply of energy for Europe and a reduced dependence on imports, it is of key importance to emphasize the substitution of fossil fuels.
As a result, the electricity percentage in the EU end energy consumption (currently at 21%), will continue to rise. At the same time, the proportion of fossil fuels in electricity production will have to sink; new applications have to be developed, renewable energies will have to grow into the major source of power production in the European Union. Such a changed structure in electricity generation requires strong grids as the backbone of electricity supply and storage power plants
as "eco stocks". Moreover, intelligent solutions on the energy market (key word: smart metering), as well as reliable, secure and intelligent grid structures are of prime importance for the implementation of this vision.
Traffic as an opportunity
A structural change such as this at the same time offers opportunities for the field in which Europe requires the most energy: traffic. The energy consumed here is based mainly on fossil fuels; moreover, the traffic sector, at 30% more energy consumption since 1990, is a major factor of increased consumption . In view of this, the rapid further development of electromobility offers a significant innovation opportunity.
Verbund is prepared
In view of this, Verbund, in the immediate future, will continue to expand its position as an internationally active hydropower producer in Europe. The strategic vision is moving up to achieve the position of third-largest hydropower producer. This means further expansion and optimization of hydropower both in Austria and the participating interests abroad.
Electricity consumption in Austria amounts to approx. 70 billion kWh, of which approx. 40% comes from power plants belonging to the Verbund Group. In its electricity production, Verbund is already placing great emphasis on sustainability: approx. 90 percent of the generated electricity comes from hydropower. The portfolio is supplemented by wind power and gas. Next to the domestic market of Austria, Verbund is concentrating on its power plants in Germany as well as on the existing participating interests in France, Italy and Turkey.