36. Material events after the reporting date

On 9 October 2023, the EU Council confirmed the Renewable Energy Directive as a further initiative in the “Fit for 55” and REPowerEU legislative package. The aim of the directive is to increase the share of energy consumed in the EU coming from renewable energy sources to 42.5% by 2030. In order to achieve the extremely ambitious target (the share is currently 22%), the idea was to enshrine the overriding public interest and what are termed “acceleration zones” in law. Sector-specific targets for transport, industry, buildings and district heating and cooling are also included in the directive. Member States have 18 months from the time the directive comes into effect to transpose it into national law.

In view of the ongoing uncertainties relating to the supply of natural gas from Russia to the EU and Austria, an amendment to the Gas Industry Act (GWG) and the Electricity Industry and Organisation Act (ElWOG) was passed by the Economic Affairs Committee on 10 October. The aim here is to extend the period of validity of Austria’s strategic gas reserve until 1 April 2026. From October 2024, gas suppliers will also be able to guarantee the supply of protected customers such as households, social institutions and district heating power plants for up to 45 days between 1 October and 1 March by gas reserves being kept until 30 September 2026. The same provision will also apply in future to electricity generated using natural gas in the Electricity Industry and Organisation Act (ElWOG). Provisions were also adopted in the Gas Industry Act (GWG) that reflect the amendment to the Electricity Industry and Organisation Act (ElWOG) adopted this year, which lead to more price transparency and a greater competition.