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

Author

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

Abstract

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
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stocker, Andrea & Großmann, Anett & Madlener, Reinhard & Wolter, Marc Ingo, 2011. "Sustainable energy development in Austria until 2020: Insights from applying the integrated model "e3.at"," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 6082-6099, October.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
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    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.
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