Earlier this week (on Nov. 5, 2015), Austria’s largest state confirmed that all of its electricity is now coming from renewable sources of energy. The northeastern Austrian state known as Lower Austria, with a population of 1.65 million, is getting 63% of its power from hydroelectric renewables, 26% from wind energy, 9% from biomass, and 2% from solar sources.
State officials note that the development was only possible because of the strong investment that the government placed on renewable energies in recent years. “We have invested heavily to boost energy efficiency and to expand renewables,” said Erwin Proell, Premier of Lower Austria, in an interview with the AFP. “Since 2002 we have invested 2.8 billion euros ($3.0 billion) in eco electricity, from solar parks to renewing hydroelectric stations on the Danube.”
This announcement was made a month ahead of a global gathering of world leaders in Paris, in which politicians will discuss the ramifications of climate change.
Notably, this development sets Austria as one of the primary leaders of sustainable energy in Europe. In an article published by The Local, Lower Austrian MP Stephan Pernkopf (ÖVP) asserted that the state hoped to be seen as a role model: “This is a clear and credible sign against nuclear power in Europe…we are a model for Europe. In Paris, only five percent of the city’s electricity needs are met by renewables.”
Additionally, this initiative has managed to create 38,000 “green jobs” locally, which the state hopes to increase to 50,000 by 2030.