Graz/Vienna/Lenzing, 8 September 2022. Although prices in international energy markets remain turbulent, Energie Steiermark and the Austrian green energy producer Enery are starting a new cooperation project that sends a sustainable message: With an investment of around 4.4 million euros, a 50,000 square metre photovoltaic greenfield plant is being built in Lassnitz (district of Deutschlandsberg). Construction will begin this year, and the plant will be commissioned in April 2023.
They have already acquired the international industrial firm Lenzing AG as the first major buyer for the ‘solar power’ produced there: The company is active worldwide, with around 8,000 employees, and in 2021 earned an annual revenue of 2.2 billion euros. Lenzing has secured the purchase rights to the electricity produced by the plant for the next 20 years: This means the leading producer of biodegradable, wood-based special fibres for the global textile and nonwovens industry is not only sourcing green energy, but is also guaranteeing inexpensive, safe energy for the long term while once more positioning itself as a true sustainability champion.
For the joint construction of the plant in Frauental, an area in the city district of Gleinz was chosen that has already been dedicated for this special use. The installed capacity is 5.5 MWh, and the annual amount of energy is 6 GWh (equal to the average annual consumption of around 1,800 households). This saves around 1,800 tonnes of CO2 a year.
For Christian Purrer and Martin Graf, Chief Executives of Energie Steiermark, the PPA project (Power Purchase Agreement) is ‘the result of an efficient, innovative interplay between energy companies, regional politics, and industry representing a clear win-win situation for everyone concerned. It exemplifies how quickly green generation projects can be implemented if all participants come together for action and leave behind their explanations of why something won’t work.’
Richard König, CEO Enery, and Lukas Nemec, COO Enery: ‘We’re really happy to have entered into one of the first long-term energy supply contracts with a leading Austrian industrial firm for our first Styrian solar park. In this turbulent market environment, we’re especially pleased to use our industrial partnership to help Austrian industry receive competitive, sustainable green energy so it can remain internationally competitive.’
Stephan Sielaff, Chief Executive Officer [or Christian Skilich, Chief Pulp Officer] of Lenzing AG: ‘To keep reducing our CO2 emissions according to the strategic objectives, we want to concentrate even more strongly on producing energy from renewable energies in the future. Concepts like these will make us less reliant on global energy markets over the medium to long terms and further support our path from a linear model to one of a recycling economy.’