APG Drone - (c) APG / Maximilian Lang
05-18-2021
Renewable Energies Facilitate Record Export

Export maximum to date exceeded by 12 percent

On May 13, 2021 a historic export peak was reached in Austria at 9.30 pm with 4,483.7 megawatt – on the basis of the current import/export plans. This means that the export peak until then (3,943 megawatt) of June 15, 2020 was exceeded by approximately 12 percent. The new record high was possible due to a combination of factors: May 13 was a public holiday – where the domestic energy consumption is traditionally lower – and there was a particularly good production from renewables on this day, mainly from hydro- and wind power. In figures: the domestic energy consumption at the time of the record export was approximately 6,350 megawatt, i.e. more than two thirds of the energy produced in Austria at this moment could be exported.

Via the APG grid the surplus electricity was exported in all EU member states around Austria that have interconnectors. Most of the surplus (2,903.2 megawatt) was exported to Germany, followed by the Czech Republic with 900 megawatt.

Renewables responsible for most of the electricity production on this day

All renewable energy sources together produced 200 GWh on this day. Considering a total daily consumption of 145 GWh in Austria this corresponds to a volume of 138 percent of the daily consumption, i.e. approximately one third more. 119 GWh of the 200 GWh were produced from hydropower (run-of-river & storage plants), 73 GWh from wind power and the rest from PV and other renewable sources.

Outlook on the renewable world of the future: grid capacities decisive for the success of the energy transition

Before electricity can be imported or exported via the APG grid, a thorough analysis and assessment of the electricity flows that are to be expected is necessary because the safe exchange of electricity on a transnational level is only possible if enough grid capacities are available. However, nowadays this is often not the case. In the past renewable production facilities (e.g. wind or hydropower plants) had to reduce their output – also in Austria – on a number of occasions because of insufficient grid capacities. A crucial flexibility option of the future which will be important for integrating the renewables is the possibility to distribute surplus production all over Europe. However, a smooth exchange of energy without any difficulties is increasingly rare. What is to be expected rather during the next few years is that due to lacking grid infrastructure and continuing increase of production from renewables their output will have to be curtailed more often. “The energy transition takes place in the transmission grids – to facilitate the transition we need a high-capacity grid infrastructure“, says Gerhard Christiner, APG’s CTO.

Austria wants to cover 100 percent of its energy demand (national balance) with green electricity by 2030. In figures this means an energy increase of approximately 27 TWh or e.g. an additional installed capacity of 9,000 megawatt from wind power or 12,000 megawatt from PV. “Even though the historic export peak is a momentary exception, it shows how volatile and challenging the new world of electricity and energy is. The key for the security of supply in times of the transformation of the energy system will be efficient and high-capacity grids – in 2021 alone APG invests 357 million euros in the transmission grid“, explains Thomas Karall, APG’s CFO.

Until 2030 APG will invest approximately 3.1 billion euros in expanding the domestic energy infrastructure to make sure that the capacities that will be necessary in the future can be managed, distributed ad utilized with regard to ensuring the security of supply and thus a successful energy transition.