Austria’s network reserve for electricity supply security granted EU approval

The temporary scheme, which will be in force until the end of 2025, will pay operators of power plants to help balance the electricity grid

Big Zero Report 2022

The European Commission has approved Austria’s plans to establish a network reserve to ensure security of electricity supply in the country.

The Commission said the temporary measure, which will be in force until the end of 2025, will contribute to safeguarding secure network operation and sufficient electricity supply in Austria, without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.

Austria notified its plan for the network reserve in September 2020 as part of its congestion management system to ensure there is sufficient power capacity at all times to resolve bottlenecks in the transmission network.

Under the scheme, the transmission system operator, the Austrian Power Grid (APG), will pay operators of power plants that have notified their intention to close their plants – but which are relevant to keep the electricity system in balance – to remain available for the network.

Coal, lignite and diesel plants are excluded from the reserve, however, foreign power plants – located for instance in Germany and Italy – and aggregators combining several generation or consumption units could be contracted and required to increase or decrease production to keep the electricity grid in balance.

Electricity consumers can also be contracted and required to decrease power consumption, in exchange for incentives.

Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The Austrian network reserve approved today will enable Austria to ensure security of electricity supply at all times. It will be contracted through competitive tenders.

“Consumers and a broad group of eligible operators, including local and foreign ones, will be able to participate in the tenders. This will allow for a cost-effective and competitive measure, to the benefit of all electricity consumers.”

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