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Austria Renewable Power Generation

Austria invests $1.18 bn to produce 100% clean electricity by 2030. Wind, solar, hydro, biomass, storage technologies, smart distribution systems offer promise.

Austria’s “Renewables Expansion Law” (EAG), adopted in March of 2021, is a significant milestone toward the ambitious goal to produce 100% of the country’s electricity from renewables by 2030.  The legislation allocates $1.18 billion for investment grants and subsidies for solar, wind, and biomass projects. Factoring in anticipated private sector investments, this value is expected to reach up to $35.4 billion over the next decade. Opportunities exist for companies offering wind, solar, hydro, and biomass power generation, pumped storage technologies, intelligent transmission and distribution systems, as well as auxiliary services such as communications, financing, constructions and engineering.

Austria’s power generation mix is already very green, with 77% currently coming from renewable sources, mostly hydro and wind. The new legislation aims to reach 100% renewable electricity in 2030 by adding 27 renewable Terawatt/hours to replace fossil fuels that currently supply 23% of the market.

One government incentive included in this legislation is a “market premium” subsidy for wind, solar, or biomass producers.  The premium would provide subsidies only when production costs are higher than the price that producers can recover in the electricity market. This replaces the current system of guaranteed feed-in tariffs, which were often considerably higher than market prices. Another central element of the law features investment grants. Operators can apply for grants for the construction of small photovoltaic systems or wind turbines (up to 1 MW capacity), the conversion of biogas plants to “green” gas or hydrogen production, and for electricity storage facilities.  The government will determine the grant amount based on the volume of the installations, with a cap between €40 and €60 million ($47-71 million) per year.

The law also establishes incentives for private individuals to create “energy communities” as non-profit associations or companies, independent from existing energy companies.  Municipalities or private persons can pool their electricity production from photovoltaic installations, wind turbines, or small hydropower stations and sell it to other individuals, energy companies, or other entities.  The framework and incentives have the potential to increase localized energy production and reduce the need to transport power through large trans-regional networks.  Participants in the program, such as groups of citizens, municipalities, or companies, can invest in and use large photovoltaic units. 

For more information about opportunities in the renewables sector in Austria, please contact Marta Haustein, Senior Commercial Specialist at CS Vienna: marta.haustein@trade.gov.

10/21/2021