Austria embraces renewable energy

Austria is yodeling up a new tree: the biofuels tree (oh, what are you, the metaphor police?). Like other hip countries, Austria is giving renewable energy a big bear hug — nearly 70 percent of its domestic power production came from renewables in 2003. Taking advantage of what is readily available right within its own borders, the half-forested nation utilizes forestry byproducts like wood chips and sawdust to make pellets for high-tech, smoke-free boilers; biomass accounts for about 21 percent of its heat production. Having banned nuclear power generation, Austria is using biofuels to wean itself off of energy imports, meet environmental goals, and spur job creation. The government funds research and development into renewables and heavily subsidizes them as well. That’s the sound of music to our ears (what are you, the dated pop-culture reference police?).