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APG: Renewables Ensure Surplus Generation

APG Factbox: Despite 100% coverage by renewables in June, grid expansion and more storage capacity remain top priorities.

In June (calendar weeks 22-26) it became obvious that the increased production from private PV facilities poses new challenges for the electricity grids. Since many households and business enterprises cover their own electricity demand with a PV system, especially during the summer months, it becomes increasingly difficult to forecast the volume of electricity that is needed from the public grid. As a consequence the original peak of electricity demand at noon flattens more and more which means that the usual pattern of consumption changes.

On the balance sheet this is reflected by a reduced consumption from the public electricity grid. In calendar weeks 22 to 26 a total of 4,931 GWh (gigawatt hours) were consumed. The average consumption during the same period in the years 2017 to 2021 was 5,537 GWh, which means an 11 percent decrease of the consumption from the public grid.

“The biggest difficulty is that the exponentially increasing number of private PV units causes an ever increasing insecurity regarding the actual demand from the public grid. At noon the private units produce a lot of electricity, in the evening more electricity is obtained from the public grid. This altered pattern changes the electricity prices and is in the medium- and long-term a challenge for the grid operators. In order to facilitate better planning and more transparency for the electricity costumers we need a comprehensive digitalization of all players in the electricity system”, explains Gerhard Christiner, CTO of APG.

Rapid grid expansion urgently necessary

Another challenge are the lacking grid capacities to distribute surplus electricity from renewable sources produced in certain regions throughout Austria or to transport the surplus electricity to the pumped storage plants in the West of Austria. “To facilitate the energy transition without jeopardizing the security of supply the grids have to be expanded urgently“, emphasizes Christiner. And he continues: “In addition to the pumped storage plants also other storage capacities have to be expanded more rapidly so that we can store the surplus electricity until it is needed.”

Saving electricity remains a priority

According to Thomas Karall, CFO of APG, it is fundamentally important to act responsibly when it comes to electricity consumption: "Saving electricity reduces CO2 and overall systemic costs, thus making a significant contribution to ensuring system security. The trend of reducing CO2 has to be pushed further. Of course, this also includes electricity from private PV units to cover the consumption of households. In addition, the sustainable expansion of power grids, renewable production, and storage facilities is still the order of the day."

Tips for saving electricity can be found at or on the Climate Ministry's page. With the APG Powermonitor, it is possible for the Austrian population to see the most effective electricity saving hours and thus make an active contribution to CO2 reduction and system security. The APG Powermonitor can be found at:

100% coverage by renewables

In June the electricity demand could again be covered 100 percent by renewables (on the balance sheet). Overall 5,431 GWh renewable energy was produced in Austria in June. The main share was contributed by hydropower with 4,514 GWh, which means approximately 83 percent of the renewables’ production. As of mid-June the renewables’ production power started to decrease. In calendar week 26 the Austrian electricity demand could only be covered by around 92 percent.

Despite the good production power from renewables in June, much less electricity could be exported in June than in May. Since all of Europe produced electricity surpluses in June, exports were lower in general. Still around 386 GWh could be exported on balance. 

No energy transition without a strong transmission grid

Due to the fact that a surplus of electricity is produced mainly in the summer months it becomes obvious right now how urgently Austria needs more storage capacities and stronger transmission lines. 

“It is a shame if we cannot conserve the good production power of the renewables because we do not have enough storage capacities, or cannot transport the electricity to the storage facilities because the transmission lines are too weak. Austria has to massively step up the speed of grid expansion and modernization. The power grid will play a key role when it comes to achieving climate neutrality in Austria by 2040”, emphasizes Gerhard Christiner.

To face the challenges of the future, to achieve the energy transition and to facilitate the electrification of businesses, industry and society, APG is investing around 490 million euros in the domestic electricity infrastructure in 2023 alone. Over the next ten years, a total of around 3.5 billion euros will be invested. In addition to the non-utilization of production potential, the lack of grid capacities leads to bottlenecks on the lines and requires emergency measures known as redispatch on an almost daily basis. This involves counteracting high line loads by means of the targeted use of thermal and hydraulic power plants.

“Until the end of June such interventions have already been necessary on 105 days in 2023. This causes costs that ultimately have to be borne by the electricity customers. Until the end of June the costs triggered by redispatch measures amounted to approximately 65 million euros. A strong grid with sufficient capacities would reduce the need for redispatch measures and the associated costs considerably. The immediate expansion of the grid infrastructure therefore has top priority“, emphasizes Thomas Karall.

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 and implementation, 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 and without any delay. Accelerating and simplifying approval procedures are key levers in this regard.

High grid feed-in from hydropower                                                  

The trans-regional electricity grid of APG also enables the exchange of energy within the country. Electricity surpluses in individual provinces can thus be distributed throughout Austria to compensate deficits.

Due to the weather conditions in June and the associated good electricity generation from hydropower the provinces Tyrol and Upper Austria were able to produce were able to generate a high energy surplus and make it available throughout Austria via the APG grid. Tyrol wasthus able to feed 337 GWh into the trans-regional grid, while Upper Austria provided 283 GWh. Vienna, with 345 GWh, had to draw the most electricity from the grid, along with Vorarlberg (186 GWh). 

APG continually keeps track of the development of the domestic electricity industry and regularly publishes diagrams at 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, and 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.


Here you can download the latest APG infographics: 

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1220 Wien

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