Wintery Temperatures Cushion Corona Effect on Energy Consumption
Wintery Temperatures Cushion Corona Effect on Energy Consumption

The cold temperatures of recent weeks are the main influencing factor on the development of the energy consumption.

Vienna (OTS) – A comparison with the average consumption of the years before the pandemic (2017-2019) shows that corona and the ensuing measures still have an impact on the energy consumption in Austria. However, if the current data are compared with those of the first lockdown, it becomes evident that the influence of the corona measures on the energy demand in Austria has decreased in the second and also third lockdown.
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Mid-February the electricity consumption ranges at a slightly lower level with minus 2 percent and 1,361 GWh with regard to the average value of the years 2017 to 2019 (1,393 GWh). This shows that the cold temperatures of the recent weeks are the main influencing factor on the development of the energy demand. “The cold temperatures of the first half of February and the concomitant higher energy demand, through heating systems, for instance, have contributed considerably to the increase of energy consumption in Austria in comparison with the previous months – while the current first steps out of the third lockdown have a rather small impact“, says APG’s CTO Gerhard Christiner.

Regarding other European countries a similar picture of stabilization or temperature-related development of energy consumption on a slightly lower level compared with previous periods can be observed. Despite the continuing lockdown in Germany, the country‘s energy consumption in calendar week six corresponds exactly to the average consumption of the years before the corona pandemic. However, there are exceptions also in this context: mid-February Spain brought up the rear with minus seven percent, while the Czech Republic and Hungary ranged eight percent above the comparative value of the years 2017 to 2019.

Electricity price and consumption go separate ways

In the development of the weekly average prices an increase of 10 Euros to approximately 55 Euros per MWh could be observed at the end of January in comparison with the previous year. An increase of the electricity price during the cold season is normal since traditionally also the energy consumption is higher. End of January, however, the opposite could be observed when the electricity price increased despite lower consumption. “Besides the domestic energy demand also the electricity markets of neighboring countries have an influence on the electricity price in Austria. If we compare January 2021 with January 2020, the electricity price has actually increased by 42 percent “, states APG’s CFO Thomas Karall.

In the cold season Austria is usually an electricity importing country

In January Austria was an electricity importing country. The peak was reached on January 11 with 84 GWh – while the lowest import value of the month was reached at the end of January with 1 GWh. The reason of the increased need to import energy is that the production from renewable sources decreases during the winter months: in particular the production of run-of-river power plants and photovoltaic systems decreases. “The gap between the energy consumption and the energy produced from renewables has to be filled with energy from storage power stations, thermal power plants and electricity imports“, explains Christiner.

However, even though, taking the whole year, energy production from renewables is quite good – like it was the case in 2020 – it is the lacking grid capacities which prevent the best possible market-based distribution. This lacking grid infrastructure is the reason why APG has to resort to redispatch measures almost every day – in January already on 22 days – to ensure the security of supply in Austria. “In 2020 these indispensable measures have cost the consumers approximately 11 million Euros per month. This figure shows how urgent and necessary investments in a modern and efficient transmission grid are for the country’s security of supply and for a successful energy transition. Therefore APG will invest approximately 357 million Euros in grid infrastructure which in addition to the benefits for the power supply industry will also provide a boost to the domestic economy “, emphasizes Karall.

APG has been keeping track of the development of the electricity consumption since the beginning of the corona crisis and is regularly publishing diagrams at regarding the topics: energy exchange, energy consumption in Austria, energy consumption in Europe, import/export, electricity prices, etc.