APG - Infographics current Electricity consumption
“Four Seasons” in April caused increased electricity consumption

Changeable temperatures in April were the determining factor for the development of the domestic electricity demand

April is commonly known as changeable month. This year this was particularly noticeable since the weather comprised everything, from mild temperatures to snowfall. Especially the temperatures were for the most part too low for this time of the year and caused an increase in the energy consumption in Austria. While the consumption ranged below the average value of 2017-2019 with minus seven percent at the end of March, it is with 1,132 GWh exactly at the same level of the reference month (+/- zero percent) at the end of April. “When the temperatures decrease, the electricity consumption increases. This is the traditional correlation. This April we experienced all four seasons, and in general it was a rather cold month which is the reason why the energy demand increased due to the need of switching on the heating again “, says APG’s CTO Gerhard Christiner.

Also in other EU countries obvious fluctuations in the energy consumption could be observed. In some countries the electricity demand in April ranged at approximately the same level as the average value of 2017-2019 – i.e. before the corona pandemic and its effects. Italy ranged most obviously above the reference value (plus three percent), while Spain ranged most obviously below the reference value (minus three percent).

Renewables have considerable share in covering the energy demand

Usually the share in renewables in the energy production increases during the warmer months, especially the production from run-of-river plants and PV facilities. However, a month with such changeable weather conditions as this year’s April makes evident how volatile and weather-dependent the renewable sources are. Nevertheless, overall the production volume from renewables in April – headed by wind power – was rather stable and at times even quite high. At the same time the “usual” snowmelt effect that normally occurs during this time of the year did not take place due to the cold temperatures. The share of sustainably produced electricity to cover the domestic demand in the calendar weeks 14 and 17 was approximately 75 percent. “These figures show that the precondition to best possibly manage and distribute the electricity produced from renewables, whose share will increase until 2030 to reach the Austrian climate goals, is a high-capacity infrastructure. Because one thing is for sure: the energy transition takes place in the electricity grids”, emphasizes Christiner.

Austria remains electricity importing country; intense electricity exchange within Austria

Just like in the first quarter of 2021, Austria kept its role as electricity importing country also in April. The peak of the imported volume was reached on April 20, with 62 GWh. Towards the end of the month the need to import electricity decreased again. At the beginning of May 26 GWh could even be exported.

Electricity is not only imported or exported across national borders, also within Austria there is exchange between the distribution grids of the individual provinces and the transnational APG grid, depending on the situation of production and consumption at the particular time. “A high-capacity transmission grid within Austria is the precondition for the security of supply for both the economy and the population. This is the only way to guarantee the availability of electricity independent of local or regional production volumes“, explains Thomas Karall, APG’s CFO. The current figures prove this and they also highlight the energy demand of the provinces that have a large proportion of industry like Styria, which obtained 274.6 GWh in April from the APG grid. In contrast, provinces that produce a lot of energy, like Burgenland, are able to feed their surplus production (158.1 GWh in April) in the APG grid so that the electricity is available wherever in Austria it is needed. This again shows that for the progressing energy transition an efficient, high-capacity transmission grid is key.

Electricity price in April still on the rise

The trend of increase of the electricity price since the beginning of the year continued also in April. With a monthly average of 60 €/MWh the price ranges 228 percent above last year’s reference value. Also the weekly average price increased considerably compared to April 2020, from 15.55 €/MWh to 63.02 €/MWh. “The main reason for this enormous and continuing increase of the electricity price is that the temperatures in April were much colder than last year. In addition, the CO2 price is at a record high and fossil fuels were also considerably cheaper in 2020“, states Karall.

Daily redispatch measures

“The transmission lines that are lacking or still under construction all over Austria – like the Salzburg line – have already cost the costumers approximately 30 million euros this year,” emphasizes Karall. The most recent decision of the European Union to reduce greenhouse gases by 55 percent until 2030, as well as the integration of renewables as stipulated in the Austrian Renewable Energy Expansion Act (EAG) would further accelerate this trend. The timely realization of all APG investment projects is therefore indispensable to ensure that in the future the same security of supply can be guaranteed with less RD measures. In 2021 APG will invest approximately 357 million euros in the domestic energy infrastructure and intends to invest a total of 3.1 billion euros until 2030. In addition to the benefits for the energy industry this also means a boost for the domestic economy as a whole.

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 https://www.apg.at/infografiken regarding the topics: energy exchange, energy consumption in Austria, energy consumption in Europe, import/export, electricity prices, etc.