Temperatures affect electricity consumption
The development of the domestic electricity consumption shows clearly that deviations from the average consumption of the years 2017-2019 have become less and less over the past few months. The effects of the corona pandemic on the electricity load are practically not noticeable anymore. In Austria the electricity consumption of the last week of May was 1,118 GWh, which is two percent more in comparison with the reference period before corona. The level of demand currently ranges within the usual fluctuation range during this time of the year.
Electricity consumption in Europe since the beginning of 2020
A comparison with the electricity consumption of other EU countries suggests similar situations as the consumption level also ranged within fluctuation margins of minus one to minus three percent compared to the average value of the years 2017 to 2019. The only outliers are Spain with minus four percent and Italy with minus seven percent.
Renewables with essential share in covering demand
May was characterized by a very good production from renewables. In particular run-of-the-river hydroelectric plants made sure that the domestic electricity demand in the last three weeks of May could be covered by 100 percent (on the balance sheet) with green electricity.
Import / Export
Electricity import/export in Austria since the beginning of 2020
Due to the good electricity production from renewables, an increasing amount of electricity could be exported also in May. On May 13, 2021 at 9.30pm a historic record export of 4,484 MW could be registered in Austria – on the basis of the import/export schedules. This means that the export maximum of until then, which was reached on June 15, 2020 with 3,943 MW, was surpassed by approximately 13.7 percent. On this day renewables produced almost 200 GWh of electricity in total.
Electricity price in Austria: monthly average in comparison to last year
Also in May an increase of the electricity price could be observed. The monthly average price was 54.8 euros per megawatt hour (€/MWh). Compared to last year this is an increase of 213 percent. The reasons for this are the still fairly high gas and CO2 prices. Currently it seems though that the prices start to stabilize a little bit.
Development of the electricity price in Austria: weekly spot prices in comparison with last year
The currently high market prices are also reflected in the weekly average. While the price in the reference week (CW 21) of last year was 14.34 €/MWh, it increased to 56.80 €/MWh in 2021.
Grid expansion & renovation will reduce energy costs in the long-term and secure power supply
Power transmission lines can become overloaded for many different reasons. This is when APG takes action: Austria’s TSO has power stations under contract which can alter their projected output if necessary. This means: they can boost or throttle their performance to avoid supply shortfalls or overloads. This cost-intensive intervention is called “redispatch measures” (RD).
The most cost-efficient and at the same time most sustainable solution to avoid supply shortfalls or capacity overloads is the expansion and enhancement of the grid infrastructure: therefore APG will invest a total of 3.1 billion Euros over the next ten years alone.
Redispatch costs for APG: year-on-year comparison 2011-2021
A strong transmission grid with sufficient capacities would reduce the need for redispatch measures and related costs considerably. However, all over Austria transmission lines are still lacking or under construction – e.g. Salzburg line (cf. APG network development plan) – which, in 2020, has generated monthly costs of approximately 11 million euros for customers.
Redispatch costs 2017-2020 regarding the reference period May
In 2020 there was less need for constriction management (CM). On the one hand, this was due to the corona-related lower consumption, and, on the other hand, to the favorable conditions in the power supply industry. End of May 2021 the costs for necessary redispatch measures totaled approx. 39 million euros.
Structure of RD measures in 2020 to date
Electric power generation from wind or solar energy is difficult to forecast, while the generation of a thermal power station (e.g. a gas-fuelled power plant) can be controlled with the utmost precision. Besides the hydroelectric storage power plants in Western Austria, the thermal power plants in Austria’s East are indispensable to avoid supply shortfalls or capacity overloads because they can be used for RD measures.
To date approximately 83 percent of the RD measures in 2021 have been executed with thermal power stations. However, their availability is jeopardized due to the currently low market prices. Therefore APG is developing new digital products and services to complement RD measures, which are supposed to facilitate more flexibility and thus a better security of supply in the future.
Days with redispatch in the reference period May
By now, APG has to resort to emergency redispatch (RD) measures almost daily to ensure a functioning electricity supply also when it gets tight. In 2020 alone APG had to intervene on 261 days to balance fluctuations in the grid. In 2021 an intervention was necessary already on 96 days. Climatic circumstances and the introduction of the electricity price zone between AUT and GER at the end of October 2018 have cushioned the RD increase to a certain extent. Nevertheless, one thing is clear: the energy transition is progressing, grid expansion is lagging behind, and redispatch measures remain indispensable.
Redispatch interventions May 2021
To ensure the security of supply in Austria APG has to resort to redispatch measures almost daily. With targeted interventions in the production of thermal and hydraulic power plants APG is able to counteract grid overloads in a controlled way so that the security of supply is guaranteed at any given moment.
APG Grid: Strong backbone of Austria’s electricity supply
Each of Austria’s provinces has its own power plants and distribution grid. However, energy production and consumption within a province do not necessarily match at all times. The APG grid is the strong backbone of the energy supply in Austria. It balances differences in the grids of the provinces by compensating deficits or transporting surplus electricity to other provinces.