Energy-pioneering Austrian town exports its model

GUESSING, July 5, 2009 (AFP) – After 20 years investing in renewable energy, the small Austrian town of Guessing, a model of energy self-sufficiency, is spreading its pioneering technology far and wide.

That would cut CO2 emissions in the district by 85 percent, he added.

Guessing’s model has also raised interest farther afield and in early May, Vadasz presented his town’s model to the United Nations in Vienna.

“Sri Lanka’s environment minister is coming to visit us,” the mayor added proudly.

Researchers, meanwhile, are already looking for new energy sources. After gas, they now hope to produce diesel and petrol from wood.

The aim is to create an agrofuel that will not endanger food production. First experiments will be held in a few months time. A town of 4,300 inhabitants near the Hungarian border, Guessing launched into renewable energy in the early 1990s and now produces more than it can consume.

The latest project, opened last week, is a one-megawatt plant capable of producing gas from wood chips.

According to its backers, this gas can be used in normal gas networks, urban heating systems, and cars or power stations that work on gas.

The technol