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Wind Energy in Austria

2020 wind energy numbers

Austria 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 2020, Austria installed 7 turbines with a capacity of 25 MW, compared to 59 turbines in 2019. By the end of 2020, more than 3,120 MW were installed in Austria. As a result comparing installed and decommissioned turbines in Austria gained a net reduction of 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 2020, read their chapter in the 2020 Annual Report.

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Megawatt

Total wind power capacity is 3,120 MW.
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Megawatt

Wind power capacity in Austria increased by 25 MW in 2020.
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Terawatt-time

Austria produces 7.0 TWh from wind energy, which accounts for 11% of the country’s electricity consumption.

National Targets

The Austrian government set in their working program the goal of 100% renewable electricity in 2030 from currently over 70%. Furthermore, the
ambition is to make Austria climate-neutral by 2040. As a step forward there are concrete targets implemented, such as additional 10 TWh of wind power, 11 TWh PV or 5 TWh hydro power by 2030.

By contrast the year 2020 marked a further decline in the expansion of wind power. As a result, the last year can only be seen as a ‘gap year: only seven wind turbines with a total capacity of 25 MW could be built, with a net reduction of existing wind power plants. The new renewable energy law is in the pipeline and should provide the framework and funding of projects for the next ten years. The European Green Deal and the need to adapt several European directives and policies connected with national laws supported the political awareness to speed up reaching Austria’s targets.

Progress & Operational Details

While in 2018 a milestone was reached with total installed capacity of 3,000 MW, the general trend of decreasing wind power expansion continued in 2019 as well as in 2020. As a result, only 25 MW were established, marking an overall all-time low. In total Austria’s wind power production was able to generate more than 7 billion kWh and 11% of the national electricity consumption.

A forecast for 2021 assumes a significant increase of additionally installed wind power capacity. One of the reasons for this is the establishment of old projects that were already approved before 2019 and provided with a feed-in tariff due to a reform of the Austrian Renewable Energy act. These projects can now be set up, adding to Austria’s wind energy capacity approximately 300 MW.

National RDD Priorities and Budget

Based on the topographic and climatic conditions, the following two R,D&D topics are currently given priority in Austria: In 2020 research projects regarding wind energy in cold climate and projects regarding the utilization of Wind Lidars at challenging locations were pursued. Those projects not only addressed site-specific technical challenges but also the requirements during approval procedure.

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