Bioenergy has long tradition in Austria. Even today, it is the most relevant energy source in the heating sector. Already during the early 1990s, several villages in the eastern part of Austria developed strategies for the efficient energetic use of local resources to foster a more sustainable energy infrastructure and support the economic development. Well known forerunners of that movement are Gussing, Mureck or Bruck an der Leitha. These mature examples of bioenergy projects based on the premise of the greatest possible benefit for the region have been presented to stakeholders from the target villages in a 3 day study tour.
The participants learned about the problems and challenges the initiators faced at the beginning of the project implementation process and how they were able to solve them. Additionally, potential problems in a later stage were discussed (e.g. maintenance, expired feed-in tariffs, market changes). All presenters highlighted that information and awareness rising campaigns and projects are an important preliminary work to convince the citizens and stakeholders. Especially, optimized economic and technical concepts for bioenergy projects as well as personal engagement have been identified as the most fundamental prerequisites for developing bioenergy villages.
In summary, 28 people took part in the whole study tour. At the second day a group of 16 citizens from Dole pri Litija, the BioVill partner village in Slovenia, additionally, joined the visit in Mureck and the exchange of experiences in the evening.