In the first four weeks of the year, 5,124 GWh (gigawatt hours) of electricity were consumed in Austria. This is a reduction of six percent electricity compared to the average of 2017 - 2021, which is due to the warmer winter on the one hand, and the active contribution to saving electricity of the Austrian population on the other. An analysis of the last quarter of 2022 confirms the trend of carefully using the resource electricity by the citizens: from October to December, Austria has saved more than five percent electricity compared to the average of the past five years.
According to Gerhard Christiner, CTO of APG, this trend must continue: “It is positive that in recent months all consumers have been able to make a significant contribution to reducing electricity consumption and CO2. This has also reduced overall system costs and made a significant contribution to ensuring system reliability. With the APG Powermonitor, it is possible for the Austrian population to recoognize the most effective electricity saving hours and to make an active contribution. Electricity saving is particularly important in view of the generally challenging overall situation in the energy industry. In addition, the sustainable expansion of electricity grids and renewable production are still the order of the day.”
Tips on saving electricity can be found at apg.at/stromspartipps or on the Climate Ministry's mission11.at page. You can find the APG Powermonitor at: www.apg.at/en/powermonitor.
Interventions in the power grid necessary on 20 days in January
As positive and pleasing as electricity consumption was in January, as dismal is the prospect towards 2030, where according to the federal government's target 100 percent of the domestic electricity demand is to be covered by renewables.
On the one hand, this requires an expansion of renewables by around 27 terawatt hours (TWh) – which since 2021 is stipulated in the Austrian Renewables Expansion Act – and on the other hand, it also requires an adequate electricity infrastructure for the transport of these energy volumes. "Already today, due to a lack of line capacities, there are time and again bottlenecks in the electricity transmission systems. In January alone, redispatching had to be used to intervene in electricity management on 20 days in order to guarantee the security of supply in Austria," Christiner points out.
Redispatching describes the controlled intervention in the use of contracted thermal and hydraulic power plants in order to be able to control the electricity load in the APG grid. This incurs costs that ultimately have to be paid by the electricity customer." In January the costs for redispatch measures amounted to approximately eight million euros. This is the second highest value in the last five years. To reduce the number of interventions and thus the resulting costs for consumers a high-performance electricity grid with sufficient capacities is necessary. The immediate expansion of the grid infrastructure is therefore a top priority," emphasizes Thomas Karall, CFO of APG.
The current developments in electricity and energy prices as well as the geopolitical developments in Ukraine show how important a rapid and secure transformation to a sustainable energy system is. This requires immediate overall system planning, adequate capacities in the areas of grids, storage, production and comprehensive digitalization to exploit the flexibilities of all players in the system. All of this must be done immediately. Accelerating and simplifying approval procedures are key levers in this regard. With its investment program of around 3.5 billion euros for the expansion of the electricity infrastructure, APG is ensuring that Austria's transmission grid is made fit for the success of the energy transition and sustainable security of supply for all Austrians.
Renewables share of electricity supply rises to 60 percent
Electricity generation from renewable sources (3,059 GWh) was able to cover around 60 percent of domestic electricity consumption (on the balance sheet) in January. Compared to the previous month (calendar weeks 49-52), production increased by 16 percent. The main share was hydropower, which accounted for around 70 percent of the renewable’s share in Austria. Electricity production from wind power increased by 22 percent compared to the previous month.
In the first weeks (weeks 1 - 4) of 2023, Austria was heavily dependent on electricity imports. Due to the seasonally typical lower production from renewable energies, Austria had to import 1,188 GWh of electricity. This import volume and the secure supply of customers in Austria were only possible due to the full availability of all power lines in the APG grid. This was achieved through internationally coordinated and security-focused preparations in the autumn for this winter of crises.
Energy exchange within Austria
APG's trans-regional electricity grid is essential for the security of supply in Austria. Via the respective distribution grids, the provinces can feed surplus electricity from their production into the APG grid and thus make it available for use throughout Austria. If a federal province has too little electricity, it can obtain the required electricity from the APG grid.
The provinces with the largest feed-in to the APG grid in January were Burgenland (212 GWh) and Lower Austria (115 GWh), while, for example, the "industrial province" of Styria (415 GWh) and Carinthia (261 GWh) had to withdraw the most electricity from the grid.
APG continually keeps track of the development of the domestic electricity industry and regularly publishes diagrams at www.apg.at/infografiken regarding the topics: energy exchange, energy consumption in Austria, energy consumption in Europe, import/export, electricity prices, etc.
About Austrian Power Grid (APG)
As independent transmission system operator Austrian Power Grid (APG) is in charge of ensuring the security of electricity supply in Austria. With our high-performance and digital electricity infrastructure and the use of state-of-the-art technologies we integrate renewable energies, we are the platform for the electricity market, we provide access to reasonably priced electricity for Austria’s consumers and thus create the basis for Austria as supply-secure industrial and business location and place to live. The APG grid totals a length of about 3,400 km and is operated, maintained and continuously adapted to the increasing challenges of the electrification of businesses, industry and society by a team of approximately 733 specialists. Also in 2022 Austria had a security of supply of 99.99 percent and thus ranks among the top countries worldwide. Our investments of 490 million euros in 2023 (2022: 370 million euros) are a motor for the Austrian economy and a crucial factor in reaching Austria’s climate and energy targets. Until 2032 APG will invest a total of approximately 3.5 billion euros in grid expansion and renovation projects, which amounts to approximately 19 percent of the total of 18 billion euros which the energy industry will invest in the grid infrastructure over the next ten years.