For information only - not an official document

2 May 2012

Re-issued as received

International conference on sustainable biomass for electricity generation opens in Austria

VIENNA, 2 May (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) - An international conference titled, Biomass for Electricity: Greening Electricity Generation for Energy Access, that opened in Austria today will help further bolster the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

The three-day event is taking place in the city of Güssing.

Participants at the conference will share their experiences of the role of biomass in de-carbonizing the global energy system, and explore the readily available and cost-effective potential for emissions reduction that could be achieved through the large deployment of sustainable biomass for electricity.

Kandeh K. Yumkella, the Director-General of UNIDO, who also chairs UN-Energy, an interagency mechanism within the UN system, said: "It is not a coincidence that we have come to Güssing to discuss sustainable biomass. Güssing has accomplished a remarkable transition from an economically poor, low-growth district with no industry and a high level of unemployment, to an internationally recognized model of a transition to a green economy. Today, Güssing's biomass-powered plants, based on sustainable local resources, generate heat and electricity for local use. They power 50 new companies, support over 1,000 new jobs and generate millions in sales and income".

Yumkella highlighted the importance of sustainable biomass for achieving global energy and climate priorities. He added that sustainable biomass for electricity generation can help achieve the three goals of the UN Secretary-General's Sustainable Energy for All initiative; namely, ensuring universal access to modern energy services, doubling the rate of improvement of energy efficiency and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

He also said that scaling up the deployment of sustainable bioelectricity technologies will be a significant and concrete step in the transformation of the current power system, based on fossil fuels, into a greener, more efficient, low-carbon system, contributing at the same time to economic growth in developing and developed countries alike.

Participants will be offered an executive seminar on bioenergy sustainability assessment and a field visit presenting the Güssing experience, one of the most interesting Austrian experiences in terms of the rapid development of a green economy.

The conference was organized by a number of members of UN-Energy, including by UNIDO, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the UN Environment Programme, as well as the Global Bioenergy Partnership and the International Energy Agency's Bioenergy, with the support of Dong Energy, Eskom, E.on and BioElectric Solutions.

For more information on the event please visit:


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For more information, please contact:

Mikhail Evstafyev
UNIDO Advocacy and Communications Coordinator
Telephone: (+43-1) 26026-5021
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-7329
Email: M.Evstafyev[at]