A working trip to Austria was held from 28 November to 2 December 2017 within the framework of the implementation of activities of the international technical assistance project “Removing Barriers to Wind Power Development in Belarus”. The fact-finding visit was devoted to the issues of the development of renewable energy and the determination of the possibility of further implementation of Austria's best practices in our country. The Belarusian delegation included representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus, the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Belarus, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus, the Ministry for Taxes and Levies of the Republic of Belarus and the Department for Energy Efficiency of the State Committee for Standardization of the Republic of Belarus.
The event was held with the assistance of the Austrian Energy Agency with the aim of studying the Austrian experience with regard to the state regulation of renewable energy, forming tariffs for “green” energy and its certification, establishment and operation of carbon market, the integration of wind power into a power grid, electric power distribution, the forecasting of power generation from wind, accumulation and use of electricity from renewable sources, including through the use of electric transport.
The head of the Center for Energy Economy and Infrastructure of the Austrian Energy Agency Günther Paurich noted the great importance of the activities undertaken by the Republic of Belarus in the field of combating climate change, as well as the development of “green” economy, and familiarized the Belarusian delegation with the Austrian experience of renewable energy development. The head of the agency pointed up the main strategic aims in the sphere of Austria's energy industry development:
- Environmentally friendly, high-efficiency and uninterrupted energy supply;
- Provision of socially accessible power supply;
- Increasing the level of economic competitiveness.
And to achieve the set strategic aims, three principal directions in the development of energy were determined:
- Improving energy efficiency;
- Focusing on renewable energy sources development;
- Safety control of power supply.
Besides, Matthias Reinert, the head of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Department of the “Energie-Control Austria” company, made a presentation on the company's operation as an independent energy regulatory body, including with regard to the certification of “green” energy.
The participants of the meeting discussed the possibility of cooperation in the field of renewable energy, the establishment and operation of the carbon market, “green” energy certification, the integration of wind power into the grid, electric energy distribution, the forecasting of power generation from wind, and the accumulation of electricity from renewable sources.
To date, the Republic of Austria is actively implementing electric transport: there are appropriations in aid for the purchase of electric transport and its active use since 2016. The issue of searching for potential suppliers of electric buses is acute in Austria, as the country does not have its own manufacturers. Therefore, the representatives of the Austrian Energy Agency are very interested in the production of electric transport in the Republic of Belarus. The parties of the meeting also discussed the possibility of close mutually beneficial cooperation between Belarus and Austria in the development of this industry.
In Austria, special attention is paid to wind power and the forecasting of power generation in accordance with weather conditions. The forecast is carried out for three days with a subsequent adjustment every half hour, relying on operational weather information. In order to familiarize itself with this technique, the Belarusian delegation had an opportunity to visit the wind farm, which is located in the state of Burgenland. In a place cited, a meeting was held with representatives of a regional operator of the electric power distribution system “Netz Burgenland GmbH”, to the power grids of which more than 1,000 MW of wind power capacities are connected.
Models of financing projects on the construction of wind farms, with or without the involvement of citizens, were introduced to the Belarusian delegation at a meeting with representatives of the “WEB Windenergie AG” company. And the staff of the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Change of the “Kommunalkredit Public Consulting GmbH” company told about the experience of Austria's participation in the European GHG Emission Trading Scheme.
Thus, the possibilities of regulation of renewable energy, including wind power, the need for a large-scale electric transport implementation, prime tools for combating greenhouse gases were actively discussed at the events held. The participation in the fact-finding visit allowed the Belarusian delegation to consider the approaches to the formation of legislation in the field of renewable energy more widely. And, relying on the best practices of the Republic of Austria, the experts intend to consider the maximum possible involvement of renewables in the power balance of the Republic of Belarus.