Slight increase of consumption in August
The current data show a slight increase of consumption in August 2021 by 2 percent to 5,015 GWh – a comparable increase could already be observed in July. This is mainly due to the ever growing use of electricity in many areas of everyday life like mobility or cooling systems for buildings. Also the continuing electrification of businesses and industry plays a role in this context.
Good news regarding the summer: almost 100 % electricity from renewable sources
Between mid-May and the end of August the electricity consumption in Austria could virtually covered 100% with energy from renewable sources – on the balance sheet. This means that during this period the volume of electricity produced from renewables was at least as big as the energy consumed. The main reason for this was the good streamflow.
Import / Export
Electricity import/export in Austria since the beginning of 2020
The strong production from hydropower plants but also wind power and photovoltaic facilities resulted in a clear export bias in the export/import balance, which is typical for the summer months. In August alone 252 GWh were exported on a contractual basis.
Electricity price in Austria: monthly average in comparison to last year
The electricity prices continue to climb. The monthly average price in August was 82.8 €/MWh, while it was 36.0 €/MWh in the previous year, which is an increase of 130 percent. Substantial factors for this development are the CO2 pricing, prices for fuels like coal and gas, the availability of renewable energies and the electricity demand. A look at the current market situation shows that despite the high yet stable CO2 price the high gas price is the reason why currently in Europe a relatively large amount of electricity is produced from coal.
Development of the electricity price in Austria: weekly spot prices in comparison with last year
The high raw material prices are also reflected by the weekly spot prices. While the weekly price at the end of August 2020 was approx. 34 €/MWh, the price in 2021 was approx. 90 €/MWh.
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 August
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 August 2021 the costs for necessary redispatch measures totaled approx. 74 million euros.
Redispatch structure August 2021
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 85 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 August
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 146 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 August 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 and has to counteract grid overloads in a controlled way so that the security of supply for economy and society is guaranteed at any given moment
APG grid: strong backbone of Austria’s electricity supply
With 3,223 GWh the run-of-river power plants (along the Danube in particular) provided large quantities of sustainable energy in August. Via the APG grid this energy was transported to Vienna, for instance, where thermal power plants traditionally stop production during the warmer season. Austria‘s federal capital thus covers its energy demand to a predominant extent with electricity from the APG grid.