Large outdoor photovoltaic systems are a topic of great debate—especially in the months leading up to local council elections. However, there are many advanced projects in the country already. The largest photovoltaic system is currently installed in Pontes, covering an area of six hectares. However, it has not yet been launched. Mayor Helmut Kubicki (ÖVP) said the location away from the city was the main reason there was no problem with anyone in Pontse.
Lottery: wide approval of the project in Schattendorf
Something similar can be heard in Schattendorf. There, the 14-hectare Esterhazy site in a depression on the border with Hungary is reserved for a solar park. The village is more than a kilometer away. The green belt is planned as a privacy screen. Mayor Johan Lotter (SPÖ) does not accept the argument that arable land is being closed. No areas should be built or poured over concrete, there will be a flower meadow and greenery, there will be a shelter for small animals.
According to the mayor, there is broad popular support for the project. Renewable energy was already included in the village development plan in 2013 and was discussed at that time. People were also informed and an event was held about it. Overall, there haven’t been any big discussions because people have been set up accordingly, Lothair said.
Wimpassing: The critics prevailed
It was different in Wimpassing. There, Energie Burgenland wanted to build a 52-hectare photovoltaic system in the Hornstein direction. Opponents of the project pushed through a referendum, and the majority of the population spoke out against it. The project is now off the table, although the community could have overruled the result.
First, it concerns the destruction of beautiful landscapes, one that is a cultural area, as explained by the initiator of the referendum, Johann Cooper. Second, four million rolls of arable land that were to be “damaged” could be produced for the project. According to Kauper, photovoltaics are an excellent technology that we would totally recommend, but should be used in appropriate settings, such as quarries and already enclosed areas such as parking lots and factory buildings.
Disagreement between parties over planned PV system in Güssing
In Güssing, a facility of 127 hectares is planned on the territory of Draskovich in the direction of Europa-Village. The property has already been allocated, Mayor Vincennes Knorr (SPÖ) confirmed. However, the ÖVP wants the opposite and is preparing for a referendum. Photovoltaics yes, but first on roofs and built-up areas, is a major argument for the project’s opponents.
Sebou: The country wants cheap, climate-friendly electricity
According to Astrid Eisenkopf (SPÖ), Deputy Governor, Burgenland is constantly working towards the goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2030 and becoming independent by expanding PV systems in relation to international energy prices. “While climate protection is an important Burgenland state concern, the ÖVP is again based on panic and basic opposition and is fundamentally opposed to any project by the Burgenland state government.” Every argument the ÖVP cites regarding open PV spaces is simply wrong — with open PV spaces there is no soil sealant, according to Eisenkopf.
The country passed a new spatial planning law last year, with photovoltaic expansion playing a central role, and landscape protection being a top priority and also guaranteed, according to SPÖ Infrastructure Council member Heinrich Dorner.
An interview with energy expert Sharma
In an interview, Stephan Sharma, CEO of Energie Burgenland, spoke about the decision in Wimpassing against the PV system and what effects he expects to have on other communities.
Energy Burgenland: “Achieving the Climate Target”
Energie Burgenland CEO Stephan Sharma was also a guest on “Burgenland today” with curator Raphaela Pint on the topic. Referring to Project Wimpassing, Sharma said this is a special case – partisan politics have been drawn up with the project. According to Sharma, Burgenland is a leading country and the sun is a force for tourism and is also important for energy generation.
There’s nothing wrong with using roofs for PV systems — but building rooftop PV systems is the next step, according to Sharma. In the future, they also want to use areas of existing wind farms. According to Sharma, many other projects will be needed to free oneself from energy dependence in other countries – such as Russia or Saudi Arabia – and also to achieve climate goals. Sharma says interested parties with territories can contact Energie Burgenland.
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