Heat wave causes increase in electricity consumption in June
This year’s June was very hot, the second half of the month in particular was characterized by the first heat wave of the year, which meant more use of air conditioning. In addition, further re-opening steps and longer opening hours for restaurants, cafés, bars and nightclubs also contributed to the increase of the electricity consumption. With 1,194 GWh end of June the demand was four percent above the average of the reference period.
Electricity consumption in Europe since the beginning of 2020
In June differences can be observed in comparison with other European countries: with a plus of four percent Austria ranges relatively high above the reference value. In contrast, Spain (minus 4 percent) and France (minus 6 percent) range a lot below the average value of the years 2017-2019.
Electricity price in Austria: monthly average in comparison to last year
After signs of a slight stabilization seemed to be recognizable in May, prices have again increased in June. Prices of fuels like coal and gas, and mainly the current CO2 prices have become considerably more expensive. In comparison with the monthly spot prices of June 2020 this is a price increase of 180 percent.
Development of the electricity price in Austria: weekly spot prices in comparison with last year
The increase of fuel prices can also be recognized in the weekly spot price where the leap is even more obvious than in the monthly comparison. While in the last week of June 2020 the price was around 30 euros per MWh, the price this year ranges around 90 euros per 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 June
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 June 2021 the costs for necessary redispatch measures totaled approx. 51 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 84 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 June
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 113 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 June 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 for economy and society is guaranteed at any given moment.
APG Grid: Strong backbone of Austria’s electricity supply
A lively exchange (import/export) does not only take place on an international level, but also within Austria between the individual provinces and the Austria-wide APG grid. The importance of the trans-regional grid is illustrated e.g. by the example of Upper Austria in June: due to the good run-of-river production the province was able to feed surplus electricity in the trans-regional APG grid, which could then be distributed and made available all over Austria. With 55 GWh Burgenland, on the other hand, could feed in much less in June in comparison with the previous months (April 158 GWh, May 163 GWh), which is due to the low production of wind power in June. Nevertheless, the province of Burgenland still remains a reliable exporter of energy within Austria.