Wind Energy in Austria

Austria.jpgAustria is among the global leaders in renewable energy, with nearly 70% renewables in its electricity mix. The natural conditions in Austria—hydropower, biomass, and a high wind energy potential—have allowed for this development. However, installation rates are currently decreasing due to political uncertainties.

In 2017, Austria installed 63 turbines with a capacity of 196 MW, compared to 75 turbines (228 MW) in 2016. By the end of 2016, more than 2,800 MW were installed in Austria. This capacity is able to produce 7.0 TWh, which accounts for 11% of the country’s electricity consumption.

To read more about Austria's wind energy sector in 2017, read their chapter in the 2017 Annual Report

National Objectives

Wind power installations significantly proliferated following the 2012 Okostromgesetz (Green Electricity Act, GEA). The GEA 2012 also established a long-term target of adding 2,000 MW of wind power capacity by 2020 (a total of 3,000 MW by 2020).

In 2017, a small amendment to the GEA 2012 lowered pressure and political uncertainty by allocating 45 million EUR in additional funding (54 million USD), this allows the installation of about 120 turbines (350 MW) that have already been approved. However, tariffs for those projects are subject to a deduction of up to 12% depending on their original ranking in the project queue.

Operational Details

The rate of wind power installations increased significantly in 2012. By the end of 2013, Austria had installed 1,685 MW of wind capacity with an estimated annual rate of 3.6 TWh of electricity production. One year later, the capacity increased to 2,086 MW, with 4.5 TWh of electricity production—7.2% of the Austrian electricity demand. New installations reached 319 MW in 2015, leading to a cumulative installed capacity of 2,404 MW (8.7% of electricity consumption). The 2015 installed capacity produced more than 5.2 TWh/yr.

With a capacity of 2,844 MW in 2017, the annual production of all Austrian wind turbines accounts for 11% of the Austrian electricity demand and avoids about 4.3 million tons of CO2. The estimated capacity by the end of 2018 is 3,019 MW.

National R,D&D Priorities & Budget

In Austria, several national R,D&D projects focus on the challenges of wind energy in cold climates. The “R.Ice” project, launched in April 2016, aims to elaborate on an icing map of Austria and observe icing events at wind turbines using an innovative imaging method. Project “Ice.Control” investigates the possibilities of meteorological prognosis for icing events on wind turbines. Austria is also currently carrying out two national research projects on small wind turbines. The “Urban Small Wind Power Project” addresses the challenges of installation and operation of small wind turbines in urban, highly-turbulent areas. The project “SmallWP@ Home” investigates the flow conditions over different roof shapes.