The last personal meeting of the INTERACT team members took place in Großschönau, Austria. Großschönau is one of the two pilot regions of the INTERACT project.
Großschönau aims to be energy neutral by 2030 and is actively working towards this goal. Many roofs are equipped with PV, a biomass-based heat supply system or decentralised solutions using heat pumps. Other proactive steps include the establishment of a local energy community. The ambition is also to create a regional energy community in cooperation with the municipalities on the broader area.
The consortium members had the unique opportunity to discuss the issues of community energy development directly with the Mayor of Großschönau. The Mayor of Großschönau, Mr. Martin Bruckner, explained and demonstrated Großschönau’s energy-related activities and how this works in practice. We visited a wood chip-based district heating system, an energy data centre and a a school with installed photovoltaic and battery facilities .The multifunctional public building can act as a community center in case of emergency as it provides electricity, food and shelter.
We also toured the permanent Sonnenwelt exhibition with a guide, which introduced us to solar energy throughout history and its impact on climate, energy and human development.
In addition to the visit to the pilot site, the programme also included an internal workshop. The main part of the workshop was devoted to the INTERACT energy community implementation roadmap, which is the project’s main deliverable. The critical implementation steps needed to realise fully integrated renewable energy communities were discussed, with particular reference to issues such as who needs to act, the necessary changes to current practice and the implications.