Austria adds 309MW wind in 2013

Austria added a record 308.6MW of new wind energy capacity in 2013 and is heading for even more installations this year, thanks to a more stable support regime introduced in 2012.

In 2012, new installations had already jumped to 296MW, from very low figures in the previous five years before a reform of the renewable energy support scheme called Ökostromgesetz (Ecological Electricity Act).

“For a second year in a row more wind energy capacity has been installed than ever before,” says Stefan Moidl, managing director of the Austrian wind power association IG Windkraft.

“That shows the positive impact of the Ökostromgesetz of 2012.”

Last year’s boom brought the Alpine country’s accumulated installation figure to 1.68GW. That is still a far cry from the more than 34GW Germany likely has installed by now (including preliminary figures for 2013).

But considering that Austria’s population is roughly a tenth of Germany’s 80 million, the wind-laggard is gradually catching up.

This year, some 380MW of new wind will likely be added in Austria, which should push the country’s overall capacity to 2.06GW. That is still not a tenth of Germany’s impressive capacity, but Austria now is adding comparatively more wind than its bigger neighbour if the volume of wind additions is compared to its population size.

Front-runners are the low-land Austrian states of Burgenland and Niederösterreich, while Alpine mountain regions still lag far behind.

Austria’s government in December announced new feed-in tariffs (FIT’s) for renewables for this year and next, giving stability to the sector, Moidl stresses. Under the new FITs, wind installations will receive €0.0936 ($0.127) per kilowatt hour of produced electricity in 2014, and €0.0927 per kWh in 2015.