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

Schmidt, J., Schoenhart, M., Biberacher, M., Guggenberger, T., Hausl, S., Kalt, G., Leduc, S., Schardinger, I., et al. (2012). Regional energy autarky: Potentials, costs and consequences for an Austrian region. Energy Policy 47 211-221. 10.1016/j.enpol.2012.04.059.

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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.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Regional energy modeling; Energy autarky; BeWhere
Research Programs: Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Bibliographic Reference: Energy Policy; 47:211-221 (August 2012) (Published online 30 May 2012)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:46
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:39

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