Austria’s power industry wants to build new hydropower plants to cope with the steady electricity consumption increase in recent years and meet mandatory climate targets. The European Commission, however, remains noncommittal and refers to the (inherently controversial) Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Renewable Energy Directive instead.
The EU leaves it up to the member states to solve arising conflicts at national level. This was again highlighted in a recent panel discussion hosted by “forum wissenschaft & umwelt” at the Ministry of Environment (BMLFUW) in early November.
Discussion participants Helmut Blöch (European Commission representative), Barbara Schmidt (Secretary General of the Association of Austrian Electricity Companies/VEÖ), Peter Dickinger (Ministry of Economics and Labour, Division IV– Energy), Robert Fenz (Ministry of Environment), Mathias Jungwirth (ecologist from the Vienna University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences) and Cornelia Maier (Vice Executive Director of Umweltdachverband) engaged in a fairly intense debate.
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(Source: aqua press Int. 4/2009, Mag. Christof Hahn)