Electricity as a location factor: Austria is the European champion in hydropower

9/24/2012Vienna

With more than 100 Hydropower plants, VERBUND is generating value in Austria for Austria

Austria is the European champion, with hydropower making up more than two thirds of its entire power production mix. The majority of the power plants supplying this are operated by VERBUND. Austria’s leading electricity company is therewith able to supply all of Austria’s private households and 40 % of Austria’s entire electricity requirement. This not only secures some 3,000 jobs at VERBUND, but also a great many in Austria’s economy. More than 255,000 private households have already opted to benefit from this, and to purchase electricity with an Austrian pedigree from certified VERBUND hydropower plants.

"With its more than 100 hydropower plants, VERBUND is an important partner in many regions. Many people are nevertheless unaware that Kaprun, Malta, Freudenau and co. are VERBUND power plants and that environmentally friendly VERBUND electricity is a true Austrian product, which can also be obtained directly from the supplier," says Wolfgang Anzengruber, VERBUND CEO.

Approx. 3,000 jobs in Austria, some 200 of which are apprenticeship positions, make hydropower into a location factor. Every job in the e-economy (including investment activities) makes 1.5 jobs possible in other branches on a permanent basis. As Austria’s largest hydropower company, VERBUND is thus the natural partner for the region and its inhabitants.

The average Austrian wants inexpensive, environmentally friendly domestic electricity

The annual baseline study from Austria’s e-economy clearly shows the importance to the Austrians of sustainable electricity from their local area: the development of sustainable electricity in Austria is of great significance to more than 80 % of Austrians and it is important to them that the electricity consumed in Austria is also entirely produced in Austria. In the process the consumers are not only concerned about the price – of almost equal importance to them is the source of origin of their electricity.

Nevertheless, in the past year, only 17% of Austrian households have checked how high the cost savings would be in the event of a change of supplier. Even lesser known is how consumers assure themselves with regards to the origin of their electricity or how they can invest in the development of sustainable electricity production in Austria.

255,000 Austrian households invest in green electricity

The magic formula is: purchase green energy and rely upon the certification and seal of quality. It is not possible to physically trace the provenance of electricity that comes from the domestic power socket. Purchasing green electricity means using the cash flow to have a say in where electricity comes from. Seals of quality, among other things, serve as an aid here.

With its seal of quality, TÜV SÜD (technical inspection authority) guarantees – in its capacity as a neutral institution – that the green electricity ordered by the end customer is produced and fed into the grid in the corresponding quality and volume, for example in hydropower plants from VERBUND. 255,000 Austrian households are already backing this "electricity with a pedigree" from VERBUND.

A certification audit, as well as controls at production sites, is carried out every year. In Austria, VERBUND is not only a pioneer in hydropower, but also in its certification. Strict controls started to be carried out at the hydropower plants as early as 1999.

VERBUND already has access to more than 100 hydropower plants – all of which are certified by TÜV SÜD (*) – and is investing approx. 2.4 billion Euro by 2016, primarily in the optimisation of existing hydropower plants and the construction of new ones.

On account of its attractive electricity price offer for private and commercial customers, VERBUND has been by far the greatest competitive driving force on the Austrian electricity market since 2005. New VERBUND customers annually save up to 100 Euro with 100 % hydropower from Austria – also refer to the tariff calculator under www.e-control.at/tk - and simultaneously support the development of renewable electricity generation.

*The TÜV- SÜD seal of quality verifies that the electricity sold originates entirely from renewable energies and that at least one quarter of the quantity delivered comes from new power plants. Furthermore, strict controls are also undertaken to ensure that a greater quantity of certified electricity isn’t sold than is actually produced.