The municipality of Amstetten is on track to becoming a smart energy urban region: That requires a long-term strategy (including all components of the existing and future energy system and their interaction), a roadmap (based on a mix of scenarios and technologies) as well as an action plan. In order for this development to gain a high level of acceptance, it requires the involvement of all relevant stakeholders and citizens.
The urban region of Amstetten is an administrative, commercial and political center in the western part of Lower Austria. Based on the current version of Amstetten’s energy concept, which has been drawn up for the first time after joining the climate alliance, the final energy consumption accounted for 1.993 GWh in 2008. 67% of the final energy consumption was used for heat, 22% for electricity supply and 11% for private transport. Thereby, the industry sector is the main energy consumer, followed by private households and transport. The most important energy sources are natural gas (54%), electric energy (22%) and crude oil (15%). [Energiekonzept der Stadt Amstetten, 2009]
In order to further support the transformation process towards a sustainable city development, the municipality of Amstetten has initiated plenty of different activities during the past years (e.g. “Platform Amstetten 2010+, development of a strategic energy mission statement, regional funding instruments for citizens, smart-metering project etc.). Furthermore, a high number of residential and non-residential buildings have been refurbished. For example, in publicly-owned buildings, greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) were reduced by more than 50%. In addition to the further expansion of a district heating network, new power plants were built resp. existing ones modernized, now using renewable energy sources (biomass, biogas, photovoltaic) to produce heat and/or electricity.
Amstetten’s Intelligent Energy Vision 2050 focuses on the best possible use of local renewable energy sources combined with an intelligent, decentralized energy supply infrastructure, which are seen as the most important success factors for achieving the energy-related objectives defined for 2050. The municipality of Amstetten will succeed in positioning itself in the surrounding region by clearly professing to become an attractive business location and initiator for prosperity and innovation. The compact city concept is based on intelligent urban planning whereby the mobility of citizens is guaranteed to a far-reaching extent by reducing the volume of traffic and transport. Dialogues between citizens and the municipality and striking the balance of conflicts of interests enable a high level of “social justice,” which is visible with attractive offers related to energy-efficient housing, transport and energy supply based on a capable and high-value infrastructure.
Action plan developed
Based on the strategic roadmap, an action plan has been developed which focuses on a detailed determination of the state of the art. This will be performed by setting up an actualised energy register and by targeted involvement of the citizens (e.g. by the use of surveys). A resource planning, which is based on the state of the art, will enable the identification of possible potentials and is also the basis for long-term planning projects (urban settlement planning, settlement of enterprises) as well as for initiatives (local funding programmes). In order to ensure the consideration of so many different interests (e.g. social aspects, economic interest), the regional energy platform AMSTETTEN 2020+ will be founded. The platform should connect local enterprises, citizens and public agencies and act as a neutral carrier of future flagship projects. This will not only ensure the most optimal way of implementing planned actions but also ease the search for new fields of implementation. These activities will be accompanied by targeted actions for (further) education as well as awareness raising and marketing activities for increasing energy efficiency and the use of alternative energy sources.
The Intelligent Energy Vision 2050 and the strategic roadmap, both set up in this smart city project, form guidance for the platform AMSTETTEN 2020+. The implementation of this platform will raise the effectiveness and the implementation range of all actions and of the strategic roadmap. Thus, coordinated dialogue among the different relevant interest groups will be ensured. Actions which are resulting from this process will be developed and implemented under the umbrella of the platform. One of the first considered projects is the implementation of a canal waste heat use to supply heat for buildings and the development of a detailed energy register.