The official “launch” of the WEIZplus real-world laboratory, which took place last week together with numerous guests and stakeholders at the Wollsdorf heating plant (Weiz), was an act that could not have been more forward-looking in two respects. This commitment by the companies marks the consistent substitution of fossil gas in industrial companies in the region using five large-scale model solutions. “In the flagship project ‘Fossil free 4 Industry’, AEE INTEC, the Green Tech Valley Cluster & the many partners are also demonstrating the 100% climate-friendly industry as an innovative Net-Zero-Industry-Valley,” explains AEE INTEC CEO Christoph Brunner. This is therefore already the realisation of an essential goal of the future EU Net-Zero Industry Act, says Bernhard Puttinger, Managing Director of Green Tech Valley. The Council and the European Parliament agreed on this yesterday. “A Net-Zero Industry Valley is growing here in a double sense. Here, companies are jointly switching to 100% renewable energy. And the majority of these companies and leading businesses are innovating and producing green technologies here for the global market,” emphasises Puttinger.
WEIZplus real laboratory
The eastern Styrian region of WEIZplus, with its 41 municipalities, 120,000 inhabitants and around 5,000 businesses, is planning to say goodbye to fossil fuels in future and take its energy supply into its own hands. The aim of the region is to activate its own existing energy resources and enable the stakeholders based in the project area, such as municipalities, regional businesses and the population, to utilise them. In future, the transformation of the energy system is to take place proactively, collectively and through regional value creation. The WEIZplus region now operates one of three “real-world laboratories” across Austria and is therefore in the spotlight not only nationally but also internationally. EUR 5.2 million in federal and state funding has been pledged for the initial phase of the project.
Furthermore, the energy cooperative “EnergieZukunft WEIZplus eGen” was founded in December 2023. This will develop, finance and operate relevant research and implementation projects in future and thus drive and shape the transformation of the energy system towards 100% renewable energy in a decentralised, independent and collaborative manner.