The European Investment Bank (EIB) announced on Thursday (9 November) that together with Erste Bank Austria it is financing the construction of a wind farm in Engelhartstetten (eastern Austria), with loans of up to 79,2 million euros to Austrian power company WLK energy.
The wind farm is comprised of 11 wind turbines with a total generating capacity of 45 megawatts (MW), equivalent to the average demand of 39,000 homes. The project is estimated to save 980 tonnes of carbon emissions compared to the traditional electricity production mix in Austria, EIB said in a press release.
“We were one of the first banks to start financing wind farms in Europe and in Austria, and we are very proud of it. We shall provide further support to the development and expansion of this technology. Every new wind farm represents one further step towards the green energy transition, and thus towards the most important goal of the EU climate bank,” said EIB Vice-President Thomas Östros, who is responsible for oversight of financing operations in Austria.
Construction of the wind farm began on 9 November and is set to last for 15 months. Grid connection is planned for December 2024, with commercial commissioning taking place in March 2025. In parallel, WLK energy has concluded a 15-year electricity supply agreement with Lenzing, a producer of wood-based textile fibres. Lenzing aims to cut CO2 emissions per tonne of fibres in half by 2030, and to become carbon-neutral by 2050. Another customer for the wind-power is Messer Austria, a manufacturer of industrial gas.
“It is important that we banks are aware of our responsibility towards the environment. Economic growth must be sustainable. In the future, we will take even more consideration towards the impact on the environment when awarding all our projects. By financing the Engelhartstetten wind farm, which will supply Austrian industry with green electricity, we are actively contributing to accelerating decarbonization. We need to ensure that money is invested sustainably and wisely to do better for the planet.”
The project will also benefit from credit subsidies under the Austrian Renewable Energy Expansion Act.