Fossil Dependence Day is a mission for research

The day of dependence on coal, oil and natural gas is already on May 3 this year. Further efforts in research and development are urgently needed to master the energy transition. Wien Energie, EVN, Burgenland Energie and Energie Steiermark are taking up this challenge as part of the joint Green Energy Lab research initiative.

Foto: JuergenPM / Pixabay

The day of dependence on coal, oil and natural gas is also clearly in the first half of the year this year. This means that we in Austria currently do not even cover half of our total annual energy requirements from renewable sources, specifically only 34 percent. Thanks to hydropower, wind and photovoltaics, electricity is already largely generated using renewable energy. However, fossil fuels such as natural gas and oil products still account for the lion’s share of heat supply and transportation. So there is still a lot to be done to achieve the goal of climate neutrality by 2040.

Energy suppliers as key players in the energy transition

The energy companies Wien Energie, EVN, Burgenland Energie and Energie Steiermark ensure the secure and reliable supply of affordable energy to industry, commerce and private households. At the same time, they are investing heavily in research and development in order to harness sustainable energy sources and integrate them into existing electricity and heating grids. Many such innovation projects are being carried out as part of the Green Energy Lab research initiative, which was jointly founded by these four energy supply companies. With the core regions of Vienna, Lower Austria, Burgenland and Styria, the Green Energy Lab has a test market with five million customers, making it Austria’s largest innovation laboratory for a sustainable energy future. The Green Energy Lab is also part of the Austrian innovation offensive “Vorzeigeregion Energie” of the Climate and Energy Fund.

Research and development for new energy solutions

By 2025, over 150 million euros will be invested in innovative projects as part of the Green Energy Lab. Innovative solutions for a sustainable energy system are being researched together with over 350 partners from industry, research institutions and the public sector. “We are currently on the way to a renewable energy future. Developing and testing new ideas is a central part of this and is at the heart of the Green Energy Lab. I am delighted to have the opportunity to continue the successful path of this research initiative as chairwoman and spokesperson of the board,” says Andrea Edelmann, Innovation and Sustainability Manager at EVN.

Investments in renewable energies

EVN is focusing on the consistent expansion of renewable energy generation, in particular the expansion of wind power and photovoltaic capacities. “The expansion of renewables is one of the most important building blocks for achieving the goals of the EVN Climate Initiative”, says EVN Executive Board Spokesman Stefan Szyszkowitz.

EVN has been part of the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) since 2021 and has committed to reducing its own CO₂ emissions by around 60% by 2034. EVN is investing a record EUR 700m in this financial year. This amount is set to rise to between EUR 700m and EUR 900m in the coming years. Three quarters of the investments will go to Lower Austria, where they will be used to expand the grids, renewable energy generation and the drinking water infrastructure.

Vienna has also set itself ambitious climate targets and wants to become CO2-neutral by 2040. Wien Energie is supporting this goal as part of a comprehensive strategy to decarbonize the energy supply. “We are pulling out all the stops to make the energy transition a success. We are expanding renewable energies, focusing on climate-neutral heat generation and producing green hydrogen. Together with the Green Energy Lab, we can test numerous innovative approaches that will help us on our way to climate neutrality by 2040,” says Michael Strebl, Chairman of the Wien Energie Management Board.

Climate protection, greening and sustainability are also central points of Energie Steiermark’s corporate strategy. That is why it is emphatically pursuing the goal of utilizing all regional potential for green energy: Water, wind, photovoltaics, biomass – but also “green” hydrogen. In the coming years, Energie Steiermark will invest more than 2.5 billion euros in new generation projects for renewable energy, around 1.5 billion of which will be invested in the necessary expansion of the grids alone. CEO Christian Purrer: “The order of the day is to utilize all existing green potential and resources and to develop future strategies for the energy and climate transition. With the highest investment budget in the company’s history, we are taking an important step towards a decarbonized energy future in the electricity grids.”

Burgenland Energie CEO Stephan Sharma uses the Day of Fossil Dependence to highlight the urgency of broad-based innovation in the fight against climate change: “Our task is huge and it will take all our courage and energy to drive the energy transition forward. We need to further intensify research and development, which is why we are an active supporter of the Green Energy Lab.” A 100 percent renewable energy system with wind, sun and optimal utilization of the grids based on material and resource sustainability is possible. Burgenland Energie will produce over 3,000 gigawatt hours from wind power and photovoltaics in 2025, tripling the amount of electricity from green production. “By investing in technological innovations such as organic storage, alternative mobility and green hydrogen, we as a European green tech company are making a significant contribution to the future of our children.”

Andrea Edelmann, Chairwoman and Spokesperson of the Board, of Green Energy Lab; Innovation and Sustainability Manager at EVN.

Foto: Stephanie Weinhappel / Green Energy Lab


Stefan Szyszkowitz, Executive Board Spokesman EVN
Foto: EVN / Wurnig


Michael_Strebl_c_Wien Energie_Martina Draper

Michael Strebl, Vorsitzender der Wien Energie-Geschäftsführung
Foto: Wien Energie / Martina Draper


Christian Purrer, Vorstandssprecher der Energie Steiermark

Foto: Energie Steiermark


Stephan Sharma, Vorstandsvorsitzender der Burgenland Energie

Foto: Roman Zach-Kiesling/Burgenland Energie



Ludwig Fliesser

Communications Manager

T: +43 676 47 19 347