The Austrian foreign minister, Karin Kneissl, at the conference on Tuesday
The Austrian foreign minister, Karin Kneissl, at the conference on Tuesday

Makes sense to rethink renewable-only energy future: Austrian FM

ANI | Updated: Feb 27, 2019 07:16 IST

New Delhi [India], Feb 27 (ANI): The Austrian foreign minister Karin Kneissl on Tuesday stated that it "makes sense to rethink the 'renewable-only' energy future," outlining that economic, social and technical constraints had to be factored in while setting targets for energy transition.
"It makes sense to rethink the 'renewable-only' energy future, if I may put it like that," Kneissl remarked at a conference held here by the Observer Research Foundation.
"If we aim too high, we run the risk to miss our target, mainly a socially acceptable energy transition. We have to take into consideration the technical and economic constraints, not to mention social ones. Gas might be an important bridge fuel, maybe clean gas with the help of new technologies," she stated.
However, she noted that new technologies in the field of renewable energy "still need research and they need time," at the conference on 'The future of Global Energy in-between Oil, Gas and Renewables'.
"I hope that we will spend more of our political energy, in particular in Europe, on research and innovation and not waste time and money and nerves on other topics that are currently on top of our agenda," she mentioned.
She also referred to the Yellow Vest protests in France, which have been ongoing since November last year, during her speech.
"French government introduced additional taxes on petrol to reduce CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions, but suddenly, the French men could no longer afford to drive to work, to bring the children from school every day," Kneissl stated.
Highlighting that Austrians pay around 800 million euros as "green electricity gas" taxes, she stated that without this, renewable energy sources would not be available to the "same extent".
"This is considerable for consumers and economy. For an average family of about four people, we talk of about 3,600 dollars per year. So Austria, a highly industrialised country can barely afford the energy transition, the obvious question is how will others manage to do it?
She also pressed that affordability is a key factor in public acceptance of clean energy sources.
"Without affordability, there won't be public acceptance. Without public acceptance, energy transition can't happen," the Dutch foreign minister said.
She championed natural gas as the "bridge fuel" of the future.
"Until renewable efficiency measures, storage possibilities and new technologies are developed sufficiently to reach climate goals and are affordable for the broader public, the answer - and I have already underlined this - might lay in natural gas as an alternative," Kneissl remarked.
"Natural gas is the bridge fuel for the future. There are many different technologies that are being explored these days that might help make it even cleaner and a proper solution when it comes to emissions," she said.
The Dutch minister, who is currently on a three-day visit to India, met with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj earlier on Tuesday. Both the sides discussed ways to enhance bilateral ties.
She also paid a visit to the Gandhi Smriti here.
Kneissi's visit comes at a time when India and Austria are celebrating the completion of 70 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. (ANI)