Ollersdorf looks into the future – the road towards 100% renewables

We had a chance to talk to Mayor Bernd Strobl and Michael Niederkofler from Energie Kompass about community engagement in the municipality – through LocalRES and beyond.

Ollersdorf was already very active in citizen founded projects since 2013, especially in the field of PV installation.

The Energy Innovation Lab was founded in 2018 and is run by Energie Kompass, funded by the Austrian Ministry of Climate Change and engages in European level and national programs.

Innovation labs are network center for research and innovation in Austria depending on topic. These labs work like living labs – they enact research on the ground. The ten municipalities involved in the Energy Innovation Lab are the real testing environment.

Community engagement in Ollersdorf

The informational sessions are very popular and increasingly more so – there is a rising interest the more the project proceeds, there are always new people participating in every info session [25-30 each time], word of mouth has been quite successful. The last citizen engagement meeting was in October and the next one is planned before the summer.

The first citizen funded project had 15% of the population participate. LocalRES has close to 30% of inhabitants involved in one shape of form and 46 registered members.

Outlook for the future

The goal of the Innovation Lab is to have a 100% integrated renewable energy system in the area.

There is already a lot of PV generation and the whole region engages in energy communities, thus energy sharing. Their next step is sustainable heat supply – a fossil free, geothermal heating grid; as a former volcanic area with hot springs, geothermal makes a lot of sense. 

A pilot project in the vicinity of Ollersdorf is developing a low temperature heating grid – the time horizon for that municipality is four years. There is ongoing research with AIT to figure out a “heat highway” that would allow hooking the rest of the municipalities into the grid. The outlook for that is about ten years.

Besides that, there will be a focus on EV infrastructure, for private and public vehicles, as well as agricultural machinery.