Austria recording all-time-high of electricity exports
Never before Austria has exported as much electricity as on June 15, 2020 between 10.30 pm and 10.45 pm. During this period a total of 3,943 MW were transported through APG’s transmission grid into foreign countries. “This figure marks a historic peak. Even though it is only a snapshot, it shows how volatile and unpredictable the new world of electricity and energy is”, says Thomas Karall, APG’s CFO. An extremely favorable streamflow and wind peaks which had the wind generators produce heavily while at the same time electricity demand was low during the late hours were the reasons for the excess supply in Austria.

Also in a European context the almost 4,000 MW power are quite substantial as it amounts to approximately half of the Austrian peak consumption during the summer months and almost equals double the electricity generation capacity of all Austrian power plants along the Danube.

Before electricity can be imported or exported through APG’s grid infrastructure, a detailed analysis and assessment of the expected electricity flows are indispensable. This is necessary because electricity can be transported over such long distances only via the transmission network whose capacity, however, is often not sufficient. In the past, it has already happened several times that facilities for the generation of renewable energy (e.g. wind) in Europe – also in Austria – had to be throttled because of insufficient grid capacity. “This underlines the particular importance of grid expansion and development projects for the success of the energy transition – because every MW hour produced from renewables that is not used is a terrible loss”, emphasizes Karall. The all-time export high also shows how sensitive electricity management has become: during the past few days oversupply in Austria had to be curtailed to some extent, while a few weeks earlier due to lack of wind and low streamflow high imports and the ramping up of conventional power plants was necessary to meet the domestic electricity demand. “In the new electricity world it is to be expected that in certain situations generation from renewables has to be curtailed or conventional thermal power stations have to be powered up. This will be necessary at least until we dispose of an appropriate grid infrastructure with sufficient capacity and an adequate storage infrastructure”, explains Karall.