Biogas law fails: Greens disappointed by SPÖ

It is intended to reduce Austria’s independence from natural gas in the long term: the Renewable Gas Act (EGG). After a long struggle, the ÖVP and the Greens agreed in principle on a draft. What exactly is this about?

Gas suppliers should be forced to gradually replace fossil natural gas with biogas. Until already By 2030, about 4.2 million tons of CO2 will be saved. From 2030, around 7.5 terawatt hours (TWh) of renewable biogas will be fed into Austria’s gas network each year. This will cover ten percent of Austria’s gas needs. The basis of biogas is, among others, crop residues, manure, paddy crops, other unused organic waste or sewage sludge.

Strong criticism of SPÖ and FPÖ

Problem: A two-thirds majority in the National Council would have been necessary for a decision. As the FPÖ and SPÖ spoke against the EGG on Thursday, that will not happen for now. Reactions? split

Farmers Union President and ÖVP Agriculture Spokesperson George Strasser as well as a spokesperson for Green Energy Lucas Hammer Strongly critical of Red-Blue, the Labor House called for the bill to be amended next autumn. The Austrian Compost & Biogas Association spoke of “bad arguments” from opponents.

The Greens were disappointed in the SPÖ

“When it really comes down to it, the Liberal Party is punching the farmers over and over again,” Strasser said, according to the broadcast. It was “a clear decision of the FPÖ in favor of dependence on natural gas from Russia and against sustainable use of domestic biogas from residues”. At the SPÖ’s direction, the Farmers’ Union leader explained that they “naturally took into account the situation of Austrian families and small and medium-sized businesses”.

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The SPÖ criticized the fact that possible additional costs for families are not taken into account in the law and that a small amount of food is allowed to be used for production. The Greens now assume that the SPÖ does not want to concede. Most of the Reds’ demands were met, and they continued to make new ones.

Hammer was disappointed: “Instead of acting as one of the solutions for Austria’s energy independence, another historic opportunity is being lost in the fight against the climate crisis and dependence on Russian gas.”

SPÖ Arguments “No Longer Relevant”

Tobias Switzer Meanwhile the Chamber of Labor (AK) has meanwhile described the proposal under discussion as “inefficient”. Schweitzer said this would lead to “unacceptable costs for households and small businesses,” according to the broadcast. “According to our calculations, this could result in additional annual costs of 160 to 260 euros per family by 2030.” In principle, the AK spoke in favor of the biogas law and called for an amended proposal by the next plenary session in the fall.

According to a report by the Austrian Compost & Biogas Association, arguments about “significant additional costs” for household customers “simply no longer apply” in the final version of the draft. Likewise, there are fears of “food destruction in biogas plants” as new plants are only allowed to use waste and residues. “In the end, those regions that want to continue doing business with Russian gas and expect government subsidies if there are problems with gas supply and high gas prices have again imposed their will,” said Norbert Hummel from the interest group.

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Ecosystem Global 2000 spoke of a “black day for the energy transition” in Austria. “Only the fossil energy lobby can be happy today, and this decision brings many disadvantages to Austria,” said Johannes Wallmüller. “We are losing energy supply security, leaving opportunities for regional value creation untapped, especially in economically difficult times, while higher greenhouse gas emissions are simply accepted, resulting in billions worth of fines.”

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