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Research is key to the fossil exit says Minister Gewessler during CEBC 2020

In Austria, Leonore Gewessler, Federal Minister for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation, and Technology made a guest appearance at the 6th Central European Biomass Conference (CEBC) in Graz by opening the "Highlights of Bioenergy Research 2020" theme day on January 24, 2020."Our goal is to reach climate neutrality in 2040 and thus make Austria a pioneer in climate protection: This includes the path to 100 percent renewable energy," said Minister Leonore Gewessler.

Setting up the photo with Walter Haslinger (left) Managing Director of the BEST – Bioenergy and Sustainable Technologies GmbH research institute; Christian Metschina, Deputy President of the Austrian Biomass Association; Franz Titschenbacher, President of the Austrian Biomass Association; Federal Minister Leonore Gewessler; Rudolf Freidhager, Board Member of the Austrian Federal Forest; Christoph Pfemeter, Managing Director of the Austrian Biomass Association and Maria Eschlböck, Managing Director Eschlböck Maschinenfabrik.

Organised every three years by the Austrian Biomass Association (Österreichischer Biomasse-Verband), this year’s edition of the Central European Biomass Conference (CEBC 2020) in Graz attached over 1 000 delegates. In an apparently unscheduled visit to the last day of the conference, Minister Gewessler gave her address at an ad-hoc convened plenary session opening the “Highlights of Bioenergy Research 2020” day.

Biomass can play an important role here and can replace fossil imports twice: as an energy source and as a raw material. Research and technology development in this area offer great future potential said Minister Gewessler.

In this sense, the biomass conference brought together many experts and stakeholders.

Austria already has energy technologies for the world market and thus solutions for the domestic and global energy transition. With our research institutes and companies, we show how it works. What we need now are stable legal framework conditions for the expansion of renewables in the heating, electricity, gas and fuel sectors and a consistent exit plan for fossil energies. But one thing is clear: an energy transition is not possible without bioenergy. It is the most important renewable energy source and therefore the most important component in the exit from the fossil energy industry, explained Franz Titschenbacher, President of the Austrian Biomass Association, who is looking forward to the future cooperation with the Federal Minister.

Minister Gewessler took the office of the new super-ministry earlier this month and she has a solid background in European environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs). In 2008, she moved to the Green European Foundation in Brussels, where she took over the management of the Europe-wide active NGO. From 2014 on, she worked as Political Director of Global 2000 – Friends of the Earth Austria back in Austria. In addition to her professional activities, she was also a member of the board of Friends of the Earth Europe.

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