Category Cities/Municipalities, counties and municipal services
Winner 1 Gemeinde Guessing, Stadt Bonn
Municipality of Güssing (Austria)
Project Energy autarky of the municipality
Video Video Municipality of Güssing and City of Bonn (ram)


The municipality of Güssing that is situated in the southeast corner of Austria has for long suffered from its peripherical position, and until the end of the communist regimes, it belonged to one of the poorest regions of Austria where unemployement and population loss were caracteristic.

Already in 1988 the municipality set its goal to replace the 1,3 million € spendings for the imports of oil, electricity and other fuels by energy generation from locally available resources. 1990 the basic decision "100% phasing out of fossil energy supply" was made. And in 1991 a new energy concept was created that covered the whole energy need through the locally available biomass, with the goal to face these negative trends. Over the next years the realisation was adressed consequently.

Güssing has today a rape-oil-refinery for the production of bio-diesel, a district heating unit supplied with wood, and a state of the art biomass-powerplant with a generation of 2 MW electricity and 4.5 MW heat. The construction of this power plant allowed to reach the goal of the ambitious energy concept. Its power generation covers the complete electricity demand of the municipality and also, in combination with the district heating, the heat demand.

The ecological energy approach proved to be a driving force for the local economy too. 475 new jobs in 42 enterprises have been created, an impressive example of a sustainable regional development process. The European Center for Renewble Energies helps to spread the ideas and experience made at Güssing so that hopefully other regions can follow.