When we look at energy in a couple of chapters, we must remember the needs of industry. Electric arc furnaces do not plug into a 230 V mains socket; they need thousands of volts, and that electricity supply needs its own infrastructure to remain safe. Businesses need to focus on what they do and managing electricity lies outside most skillsets. So, industrial park owners often manage the electricity supply for their tenants.
To find an outstanding example we will travel to Güssing, Austria. Over 20 years the community turned around its economy by reducing its dependence on imported fossil fuels. As a first step, they reduced the town’s energy use by 50%. They achieved that goal through a programme of construction and refurbishment. The town then built 27 power plants, including two gasification plants (converting biomass into methane). The larger plant, in Güssing, takes wood from a local forest to supply two megawatts (MW) of electricity and 4.5MW heat. Nearby, in Strem, a biogas generator contributes 0.5MW electricity and 0.5MW heat, using waste from food crops. The investment in low-cost, reliable energy has drawn 50 enterprises to the region. They are largely the high-energy industries we have been discussing. Now, 21,000 people visit Güssing every year to see how the town achieved its transformation.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish