National Innovation Pathway

  • In 2020, the Austrian government has committed itself in the framework of the new government agreement (2020 – 2024) to a fast track to decarbonisation with the overall goal to reach climate neutrality by 2040. Energy research and technology development will be key elements of this roadmap.
  • The current framework of the clean energy innovation policies in Austria are the Climate and Energy Strategy #mission2030 (published in 2018) and its implementation plan (National Energy and Climate Plan NECP); submitted to the European Commission in 2019). By 2030, Austria pursues following goals:
    • reduction of green house gas emissions by 36% compared to 2005[1]
    • providing 100% of its total electricity consumption (national balance) from renewable energy sources
    • increase in the share of renewable energy in the gross final energy demand to 46-50%
  • In 2020 Austria has published an updated Implementation Plan for the Energy Research Initiative (Research Chapter of the NECP). It covers missions and related innovation goals, public R&D measures and concrete innovation activities. Austria has started three new RD&D initiatives, which will result in demonstration labs in the fields of
    • 100% Renewable Energy Regions: up to 5 innovation labs will demonstrate how wholistic and systemic energy solutions such as sector coupling (power, heat, mobility, industry) will enable flexible, resilient and regional energy supply.
    • Climate Neutral Cities aim to accelerate the development of climate-neutral cities by implementing climate-neutral strategies, process and regulatory innovation in urban living labs and cities
    • Circular Economy: implementation of the Austrian circular economy strategy by promoting cross-cutting RD&D in the areas of circular procurement & manufacturing, intensification of usage and recycling.

A key element in the Austrian energy R&D is system integration and sector coupling. That means that hitherto separate systems (power, heat, mobility, industry) are interlinked. Austria will also significantly consider heating and cooling in R&D, because it covers 50% of the total energy demand. Another important aspect are social innovations (business models, prosumers) and the involvement of citizens in the energy transition. Austria also supports the development of disruptive technologies.  The possibilities of the digital transformation will also be considered.

Austria’s key institutions in MI:

A key for success in Mission Innovation is the strong public-private cooperation. Austria has installed a national governance structure, ensuring a broad involvement of Austrian industry and R&D stakeholders. Austrian MI activities are led by the Federal Ministry of Climate Action, Environment, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK). BMK installed an expert advisory board. This board meets in May 2021 the 5th time and gives advice to the Federal Minister on Austria’s energy research and technology policy and its involvement in Mission Innovation. The Climate and Energy Fund, owned by BMK, is the most important institution funding national energy R&D and implementation projects. The Climate and Energy fund is currently leading the scoping process of the Industry Mission.  The Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) has a supporting role in the Austrian MI activities (contribution to Missions, supporting BMK and the Climate and Energy Fund and contribution to the MI Secretariat).