Kelag has opened its 26MW Steinburger Alpe & Soboth wind farm in Carinthia, Austria.
The first Carinthian wind farm was developed and built by the company EcoWind and consists of eight turbines.
The project will generate around 60m kWh of electricity per year, which corresponds to the needs of 17,000 Carinthian households.
“The Steinberger Alpe & Soboth wind farm is one of the first steps in the energy transition in Carinthia, the energy future has begun,” said Kelag board member Danny Güthlein.
“Wind power contributes to secure electricity supply from renewable energy, especially in winter, when our customers need a lot of electricity but hydropower and photovoltaics provide less electricity than in summer,” he went on.
“Wind power generates electricity from the region for the region and makes us less dependent on electricity imports and fossil energy imports.
“The availability of green energy is becoming an important location factor. Green energy is a prerequisite for economic development and prosperity in our country. Quite apart from the fact that we also have a massive need for action for climate protection reasons!”
Fellow Kelag board member Reinhard Draxler also welcomed the opening of the site: “Carinthia has the fourth largest wind power potential of all Austrian federal states.
“There are usable wind power sites, especially in the area of the state border with Styria. If the energy transition in Carinthia is to succeed, we must increase electricity generation from renewable energy, which includes not only hydropower and photovoltaics but also wind power.”
Kelag developing further wind farms in Carinthia. Official procedures are under way for the Lavamünd wind farm, the Steinberger Alpe 2 wind farm in the municipality of St Georgen im Lavanttal and the Peterer Alpe wind farm in the municipality of Reichenfels.
“The expansion of electricity generation from renewable energy is an essential pillar of the energy transition towards a sustainable and environmentally friendly energy supply without fossil fuels,” added Draxler.
“For this we need the appropriate political and legal framework in Carinthia. We are confident that we can implement further energy transition projects in dialogue with politicians, communities, citizens, property owners and the authorities.”
Provincial state energy councillor Sebastian Schuschnig was also present for the inauguration of the Steinburger Alpe & Soboth site and said: “We have initiated a turnaround in energy policy in Carinthia and will significantly increase the pace of expansion of renewable energy.
“The aim is to make Carinthia as regionally independent and as sustainable as possible all year round and to implement more projects.
“A modern and ambitious new energy strategy with a clear commitment to the accelerated expansion of renewables and faster processes will be the cornerstone for this.
“The supply of sustainable energy is also an important factor for the business location. Carinthia needs an intelligent energy mix of solar power, hydropower, biomass, new technologies such as hydrogen and also wind power, where it is ecologically justifiable and economically sensible.
“ The wind farm that went into operation today is an important step that will enable a total of 17,000 households to be supplied with clean electricity all year round.”
member of the Carinthian state parliament Günter Leikam also attended the event and said: “In Carinthia, we are striving for a sustainable energy mix of hydropower, solar energy, biomass and wind power – not only to generate climate-friendly energy, but also to become increasingly independent of the fluctuations of the international energy market.
“A moderate use of wind power in accordance with local conditions is an important component for nationwide security of supply, especially during the winter months.”
The market town of Lavamünd has been the location of two large hydroelectric power plants for decades.
“With the wind turbines on the Soboth, another form of renewable energy is now being put to good use in a contemporary manner and the dependence on electricity imports is reduced,” said mayor Wolfgang Gallant.
“With further electrification, electricity demand will double by 2040. With the construction of the first wind turbines in our community and thus in the Lavanttal, we are actively supporting the energy transition and giving oil, gas and nuclear power an expiry date.
With Kelag, a well-known operator has been found who is setting a local example and has invited the population to get to know and experience wind power at the wind farm festival.”
Mayor of the community of St Georgen im Lavanttal and member of the Carinthian state parliament Karl Markut added: “It is primarily due to the constructive cooperation between landowners, the population and the uniform attitude of the local council that the first wind farm in Carinthia was built on the Steinberger Alpe in our community.
“Our efforts to find alternative energy locations, which began in 2004, have led to success, accompanied by pioneers and implementers”
“This shows that alternative energy production has become a future-oriented requirement that enables us to provide an independent energy supply for our population and our economy. We have to continue on this path together!”