In Austria the most important supporting schemes are as follows:
- fixed feed in tariff scheme for RES according to the Austrian Green Electricity Act (Ökostromgesetz),
- federal grants from the Environmental Assistance in Austria and
- tax exemption for biomethane from mineral oil tax.
The Austrian Green Electricity Act (Ökostromgesetz) prescribes the remuneration for RES. The basic tariffs for agricultural biogas plants contracted for subsidy in 2012 are between 18.5 and 13.0 €Cent per electric kilowatt hour for facilities of an electrical capacity less than 250 kW and more than 500 kW, in between the tariff is 16,5 €cent/kWh. The full basic tariffs are subject to minimum requirements for the use of manure (>30 percent by mass). The feed-in tariffs are granted for a period of 15 years, according to the Act there can be follow-up tariffs up to the 20th year of operation. In the past years an extra support for operation costs was given of up to 4 €cent per kWh in order to compensate the higher costs when using energy crops. The new Green Electricity Act does not provide this support any more. To be eligible in any case an annual fuel efficiency of 60 % is required. If the facility achieves even higher fuel efficiency, a CHP bonus of 2 €cent per kilowatt-hour can be granted on top of the technology and base feed-in tariff. The scheme foresees a technology bonus of 2 €cent per kilowatt-hour for green electricity generated from biomethane in a CHP. A mixed operation using both natural gas and biomethane is possible if the share of biomethane is at least 50%. A virtual allocation of injected biomethane to a CHP is possible for the whole, or for parts of the injected biomethane quantities. The technology bonus is paid on-top to the basic feed-in tariff and doesn’t depend on capacity or kind of feedstock.
As part of the “Environmental Assistance in Austria” (UFI) federal grants for biogas plants, as well as cleaning, upgrading and injection installations in the height of 25% of total environmentally relevant investment costs are available. The grant doesn’t depend on the capacity of the installations, the feedstock for or the final usage of the biomethane. When fulfilling the sustainability criteria for renewable transport fuels of the RES Directive of 45 % GHG reduction, a bonus of 5 % can be given, whereas the grant would add-up to 30%. In any way a regional supply of raw materials with max. 100 km transport distance and in line with the sustainability criteria of the RES Directive are required. The programme has a total budget limitation and is managed and administered by the Kommunalkredit Public Consulting GmbH (KPC).
Due to the Austrian Green Electricity Act, all nine Austrian provincial governments receive an annual budget of 7 million € in total, which they can spend for investment grants for renewable energy, energy savings and efficiency installations and measures. The subsidy provisions lie in the competence of the corresponding province. In the past also some pilot plants and demonstration projects for biogas upgrading enjoyed such grants.
- Green electricity tariffs biomethane taken from gas grid
- Investment subsidies for upstream investments
- Investment subsidies for downstream investments
- Tax exemptions or reliefs
- Reduced grid related costs