Science is the driving force behind our progress. Today, more than ever, we also see the negative consequences that progress has brought with it: the climate catastrophe. As Wiener Stadtwerke, we have a clear mandate to end the age of fossil fuels in Vienna. This is a Herculean task that requires more than pure will. We need a spirit of innovation. We need people who want to work on creative solutions and rethink mobility, electricity and heat supply in Vienna. We need science. And fortunately, we have science in our city.
In summer 2023, a globally unique test was launched at the Donaustadt power plant. The gas turbine was converted to be able to add 15 per cent hydrogen by volume. This not only reduces CO2 emissions, but is also a step towards Austria’s energy independence. The hydrogen is produced in Vienna from surplus renewable energy from Vienna. This is just one example that shows us that many things are possible. Many more innovations will and must follow. We can be proud of the scientific achievements that have been made and look forward to those that await us in the future. The Science Ball is an important sign of recognition and appreciation and I am already looking forward to it.
Peter Weinelt studied energy technology at the Vienna University of Technology. He has been Managing Director of Wiener Stadtwerke since 1 January 2024. With over 30 years of experience in the energy sector, he was also instrumental in the construction of the first wind turbines in the country. His new task: to transform Vienna’s energy system to be emission-free by 2040.