Wind Energy in Austria
2021 wind energy numbers
Austria has set ambitious renewable energy and climate protection targets, reaching 100% electricity generation from renewables by 2030.
The year 2021 marked a moderate expansion of wind power. Austrian wind power increased by 298 MW. Many projects are part of a queue caused by inadequate support scheme conditions in recent years and lengthy approval procedures.
In 2021, Austria installed 69 turbines compared to 7 turbines in 2020. By the end of 2021, there was more than 3,300 MW installed capacity, while 57 turbines with 103 MW were decommissioned. As a result, comparing established and decommissioned turbines in Austria, there was a slight net increase in existing wind power plants. The estimated feasible potential until 2030 is at 7,500 MW with 22.5 TWh p.a.
To read more about Austria's wind energy sector in 2021, read their chapter in the 2021 Annual Report.
The new Austrian scheme to support the production of renewable energy (EAG), approved by the European Commission in 2022, is meant to provide the framework for reaching Austria’s goal of 100% renewable electricity in 2030. Currently, Austria generates around 70% of its electricity production from renewable sources. Furthermore, the ambition is to make Austria climate neutral by 2040. As a step forward, concrete targets are implemented, such as an additional energy generation of 10 TWh from wind power, 11 TWh from PV, and 5 TWh from hydropower until 2030. In contrast, the year 2020 marked a further decline in the expansion of wind power, and 2021 resulted in just a moderate increase of wind power by 298 MW. One of the reasons is the long development and notification of the new support scheme (EAG) as well as the lengthy approval procedures of projects. As a result, a more ambitious expansion in 2022 and the following years is needed, as well as further dedicated wind power zones in Austria.
Progress & Operational Details
In 2021, a steady increase in the expansion of wind power was reached and is expected for the upcoming years until 2030. The Austrian government targets annual growth of 400 MW of wind power. In total, Austria’s wind power production generated around 7,6 billion kWh, corresponding to 11% of the national electricity consumption.
The forecast for 2022 assumes a significant increase of additionally installed wind power capacity of 457 MW. One of the reasons for this is the backlog of older projects that have already been approved before 2019 and provided with a feed-in-tariff (FiT) due to a reform of the Austrian Renewable Energy act. These projects can now be completed. Another reason is projects which have been delayed over the last years due to the Corona-pandemic and its effects on the global supply chains of wind turbine manufacturers.
National RDD Priorities and Budget
Based on the topographic and climatic conditions, the following two R, D&D topics are currently prioritised in Austria: In 2020, research projects regarding wind energy in cold climates and projects regarding the utilisation of Wind Lidars at challenging locations were pursued. Those projects addressed not only site-specific technical challenges but also the requirements during the approval procedure.
In 2021, a new research project related to the topic of ‘Cold climate’ was initiated. This project aims to improve the performance of ice protection systems through machine learning. Physical models of blade heating systems and their control strategies, as well as operational data of systems in the field and meteorological forecasts, will be used to create and educate algorithms that shall enable optimised operation and yield of wind turbines under icing conditions.