TIROL 2050 energieautonom is a major change process that demonstrates how to tackle the energy transition.
A strong country on the way to great freedom – Can you please tell us more about TIROL 2050 energieautonom?
Tirol has set itself the goal of freeing itself from dependence on fossil fuels. In the future, Tyroleans should be able to cover their entire energy needs from domestic, renewable sources. By the way, our energy needs do not only include the electricity we consume, but all the energy for mobility, heat and industry. To achieve this, we will significantly reduce energy consumption in Tirol and further expand renewables. Sun, wood, water, environmental heat – all of this is abundantly available in Tirol, we just have to use it properly. In this way, we increase regional added value, become independent of fossil energy imports and protect the environment and climate. By the way, we in Tirol currently still import around 60 % fossil energy, mainly natural gas and oil.
The mobility turnaround as a core area – How will Tyroleans get around in 2050 at best and what is already being done to achieve this?
Even in 2050, we want to get around safely – whether on foot, by bike, bus, train or car. With a share of around 35% of total energy consumption, and so far almost exclusively from fossil sources, transport currently weighs heavily in Tirol’s climate balance. There are many ways to take an active step towards a better future:
One day of home office per week could reduce commuting by 20 %. With the climate ticket and the tariff reform in Tirol, buses and trains are now even cheaper and it is also convenient to relax on the way to work. From a health perspective, 10,000 steps a day on foot would be recommended, but our average is only 1,400 steps, so there is not only potential here for energy autonomy. Cycling keeps you fit and you can also get a lot done with transport bikes. I also like to shop locally, which tastes twice as good and reduces the necessary transport routes, which in the future will be mastered by train, battery-electric or with green hydrogen. E-buses are also already in test operation and recently Tirol’s first e-truck whizzed past me. Nevertheless: in some cases, a car is simply very practical or simply necessary. Then electric cars are the best solution we have. The efficiency of electric vehicles is simply many times greater than that of cars with combustion engines. With the same amount of energy, an electric car can travel about three times as far, because an internal combustion engine converts most of the tank filling into heat instead of movement; an internal combustion engine is effectively a moving heater. Last year, the Environment Agency Austria showed once again that even with the current Austrian electricity mix a clear ecological advantage is achieved, which will be even greater in the future with 100 % renewable electricity. [Umweltbundesamt: Die Ökobilanz von Personenkraftwagen, 2021. publikationsdetail ‘Die Ökobilanz von Personenkraftwagen.’ [umweltbundesamt.at]; retrieved 28.01.2022] That is why the switch to electric mobility continues to be highly promoted. And with success – in 2021, the number of newly registered e-cars in Tirol almost doubled and now stands at 12.6 %.
Of course, e-cars cannot solve our traffic jam, resource or space problems, but public buses will also be emission-free in the future and the public transport offer as well as car sharing TIROL 2050 will be further expanded. The more than 50 e-vehicles that are now available can already be easily used in cooperation with the VVT.
From the idea to implementation – numerous companies are already ensuring that Tirol becomes energy self-sufficient in the long term and sustainably. Which of these ‘stories of success’ particularly appeals to you?
There are many – from your own small hydroelectric power plant in the basement to e-mopeds in the driving school to the purchasing group for PV systems or Tirol’s first underground railway – there are always enthusiastic people behind them who tell of their hurdles and strategies for success. To give an example from the field of heat and energy saving, which also still shows the great economic potential of the energy transition: The company ‘iDM Energiesysteme‘ produces 9,000 heat pumps a year in Matrei in East Tirol, making it the largest manufacturer in Austria. Its managing director Manfred Pletzer is full of energy for the topic himself and is involved in the Tyrolean Chamber of Commerce as vice president as well as in the Adlerrunde for the energy transition. In May 2021, iDM made people sit up and take notice with growth of 50 %, and the trend is upwards. The background: heat pump technology gives us the opportunity to use the energy available in the environment. Many believe that this is a relatively new development. However, this is not entirely true. More than 160 years ago, the principle of the heat pump cycle was recognised and made usable. And even today, each of us has contact with technology several times a day – whether it’s a refrigerator or an air conditioner – both work according to the same, albeit reversed, principle. Heat pumps for heating extract heat from air, water or the ground and ‘pump’ it to a higher temperature. In this way, one part of electricity becomes many times the heat. Even air with a temperature below 0 °C has stored energy that can be used. This is why the switch to heat pumps or other renewable heating systems is currently heavily subsidised – for example, if you buy a heat pump for 20,000 euros, you will receive a total subsidy of 15,500 euros. Here you can find information on subsidies and advice.
Achieving a big goal together – What can each of us contribute to making Tirol independent of fossil fuels by 2050?
TIROL 2050 energieautonom is a major change process that demonstrates how the energy transition can be tackled. The core of this process is dialogue with the population and stakeholders from various sectors in order to identify new ideas and inspiring projects and to bring them to a wider audience. However, it is not only new technologies such as electromobility or intelligent buildings that play an important role. The change to a sustainable society is best achieved through many individual steps and ideas of the people in Tirol. Everyone can contribute their potential and make a contribution to success. The task of politics is to create sensible framework conditions for this process of change. With TIROL 2050 energieautonom, the province is bundling all available forces for this purpose.
Last but not least: Green Filming in Tirol – What opportunities and possibilities do you see for green filming in connection with TIROL 2050 energieautonom?
In Tirol the power and beauty of nature can be felt particularly strongly. This makes it all the more authentic if the film productions that are set here are themselves realised as sustainably as possible.
In my view, there is also great potential in the way films and television productions deal with the topics of climate protection, energy transition and sustainability: what generational conflicts arise, what encouraging stories are there to tell? In my view, the potential of a happy, better future is far too rarely made tangible, although positive visions inspire us all and give us energy for change. Film tips in this direction are, for example, ‘2040 – We Save the World‘, ‘Dreaming of Banana Trees‘, ‘Power to Change‘ or the classic ‘TOMORROW – The World is Full of Solutions‘.
Based on this conviction, I am also involved in the klimakultur.tirol initiative, which sees art and culture as a crucial opportunity for proactive change towards a sustainable society. Here, artists and cultural practitioners meet with experts in the fields of energy transition and climate protection, and future art is created.
TIROL 2050 energieautonom
Südtiroler Platz 4
Tel.: +43 512 58 99 13 (20)