IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Regional energy autarky: Potentials, costs and consequences for an Austrian region


  • Schmidt, J.
  • Schönhart, M.
  • Biberacher, M.
  • Guggenberger, T.
  • Hausl, S.
  • Kalt, G.
  • Leduc, S.
  • Schardinger, I.
  • Schmid, E.


Local actors at community level often thrive for energy autarky to decrease the dependence on imported energy resources. We assess the potentials and trade-offs between benefits and costs of increasing levels of energy autarky for a small rural region of around 21,000 inhabitants in Austria. We use a novel modeling approach which couples a regional energy system model with a regional land use optimization model. We have collected and processed data on the spatial distribution of energy demand and potentials of biomass, photovoltaics and solar thermal resources. The impacts of increasing biomass production on the agricultural sector are assessed with a land-use optimization model that allows deriving regional biomass supply curves. An energy system model is subsequently applied to find the least cost solution for supplying the region with energy resources. Model results indicate that fossil fuel use for heating can be replaced at low costs by increasing forestry and agricultural biomass production. However, autarky in the electricity and the heating sector would significantly increase biomass production and require a full use of the potentials of photovoltaics on roof tops. Attaining energy autarky implies high costs to consumers and a decline in the local production of food and feed.

Suggested Citation

  • Schmidt, J. & Schönhart, M. & Biberacher, M. & Guggenberger, T. & Hausl, S. & Kalt, G. & Leduc, S. & Schardinger, I. & Schmid, E., 2012. "Regional energy autarky: Potentials, costs and consequences for an Austrian region," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 211-221.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:47:y:2012:i:c:p:211-221
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2012.04.059

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Schmidt, Johannes & Leduc, Sylvain & Dotzauer, Erik & Schmid, Erwin, 2011. "Cost-effective policy instruments for greenhouse gas emission reduction and fossil fuel substitution through bioenergy production in Austria," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 3261-3280, June.
    2. Stocker, Andrea & Großmann, Anett & Madlener, Reinhard & Wolter, Marc Ingo, 2011. "Sustainable energy development in Austria until 2020: Insights from applying the integrated model ""," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 6082-6099, October.
    3. Kalt, Gerald & Kranzl, Lukas, 2011. "Assessing the economic efficiency of bioenergy technologies in climate mitigation and fossil fuel replacement in Austria using a techno-economic approach," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 88(11), pages 3665-3684.
    4. van der Hilst, F. & Dornburg, V. & Sanders, J.P.M. & Elbersen, B. & Graves, A. & Turkenburg, W.C. & Elbersen, H.W. & van Dam, J.M.C. & Faaij, A.P.C., 2010. "Potential, spatial distribution and economic performance of regional biomass chains: The North of the Netherlands as example," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 103(7), pages 403-417, September.
    5. Müller, Matthias Otto & Stämpfli, Adrian & Dold, Ursula & Hammer, Thomas, 2011. "Energy autarky: A conceptual framework for sustainable regional development," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 5800-5810, October.
    6. Kocoloski, Matt & Michael Griffin, W. & Scott Matthews, H., 2011. "Impacts of facility size and location decisions on ethanol production cost," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 47-56, January.
    7. Berndes, Goran & Hansson, Julia, 2007. "Bioenergy expansion in the EU: Cost-effective climate change mitigation, employment creation and reduced dependency on imported fuels," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 5965-5979, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Engelken, Maximilian & Römer, Benedikt & Drescher, Marcus & Welpe, Isabell, 2016. "Transforming the energy system: Why municipalities strive for energy self-sufficiency," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 365-377.
    2. Olivia Koland & Birgit Bednar-Friedl & Erwin Schmid & Martin Schönhart, 2012. "Climate change impacts on and adaptation measures for agriculture in Austria in 2020 and 2050: Linking bottom-up and top-down models," EcoMod2012 4315, EcoMod.
    3. Blumer, Yann B. & Moser, Corinne & Patt, Anthony & Seidl, Roman, 2015. "The precarious consensus on the importance of energy security: Contrasting views between Swiss energy users and experts," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 927-936.
    4. Thomas Sauer & Stephanie Barnebeck & Yannick Kalff & Judith Schicklinski, 2015. "The Role of Cities in the Socio-Ecological Transition of Europe (ROCSET)," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 93, WWWforEurope.
    5. Chantal Ruppert-Winkel & Jürgen Hauber, 2014. "Changing the Energy System towards Renewable Energy Self-Sufficiency—Towards a multi-perspective and Interdisciplinary Framework," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(5), pages 1-10, May.
    6. Benjamin McLellan & Qi Zhang & Hooman Farzaneh & N. Agya Utama & Keiichi N. Ishihara, 2012. "Resilience, Sustainability and Risk Management: A Focus on Energy," Challenges, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(2), pages 1-30, August.
    7. Kirchner, Mathias & Schönhart, Martin & Schmid, Erwin, 2016. "Spatial impacts of the CAP post-2013 and climate change scenarios on agricultural intensification and environment in Austria," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 35-56.
    8. Bekkering, J. & Hengeveld, E.J. & van Gemert, W.J.T. & Broekhuis, A.A., 2015. "Designing a green gas supply to meet regional seasonal demand – An operations research case study," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 348-358.
    9. Olivia Koland & Martin Schönhart & Erwin Schmid, 2013. "International Trade of Bio-Energy Products – Economic Potentials for Austria," FIW Research Reports series IV-004, FIW.
    10. McKenna, Russell & Merkel, Erik & Fichtner, Wolf, 2017. "Energy autonomy in residential buildings: A techno-economic model-based analysis of the scale effects," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 189(C), pages 800-815.
    11. Schönhart, Martin & Mitter, Hermine & Schmid, Erwin & Heinrich, Georg & Gobiet, Andreas, 2014. "Integrated Analysis of Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Measures in Austrian Agriculture," Journal of International Agricultural Trade and Development, Journal of International Agricultural Trade and Development, vol. 63(3).
    12. repec:eee:appene:v:195:y:2017:i:c:p:922-941 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Hatzl, Stefanie & Brudermann, Thomas & Reinsberger, Kathrin & Posch, Alfred, 2014. "Do public programs in ‘energy regions’ affect citizen attitudes and behavior?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 425-429.
    14. Kirchner, Mathias & Schmidt, Johannes & Kindermann, Georg & Kulmer, Veronika & Mitter, Hermine & Prettenthaler, Franz & Rüdisser, Johannes & Schauppenlehner, Thomas & Schönhart, Martin & Strauss, Fran, 2015. "Ecosystem services and economic development in Austrian agricultural landscapes — The impact of policy and climate change scenarios on trade-offs and synergies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 161-174.
    15. repec:eee:enepol:v:113:y:2018:i:c:p:747-750 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Kirchner, Mathias & Mitter, Hermine & Schönhart, Martin & Schmid, Erwin, 2014. "Integrated land use modelling to analyse climate change adaptation in Austrian agriculture," 2014 International Congress, August 26-29, 2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia 182944, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    17. Anis Radzi, 2015. "A survey of expert attitudes on understanding and governing energy autonomy at the local level," Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(5), pages 397-405, September.
    18. Hecher, Maria & Vilsmaier, Ulli & Akhavan, Roya & Binder, Claudia R., 2016. "An integrative analysis of energy transitions in energy regions: A case study of ökoEnergieland in Austria," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 40-53.
    19. Trutnevyte, Evelina, 2013. "EXPANSE methodology for evaluating the economic potential of renewable energy from an energy mix perspective," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 593-601.
    20. Kraxner, F. & Aoki, K. & Kindermann, G. & Leduc, S. & Albrecht, F. & Liu, J. & Yamagata, Y., 2016. "Bioenergy and the city – What can urban forests contribute?," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 990-1003.
    21. Batas Bjelic, Ilija & Ciric, Rade M., 2014. "Optimal distributed generation planning at a local level – A review of Serbian renewable energy development," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 79-86.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:47:y:2012:i:c:p:211-221. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.