Energy R&D - Public expenditure in Austria - Survey 2011

Membership of the International Energy Agency (IEA) obligates Austria to report on an annual basis all publicly financed energy research and development projects. This survey fulfils not only international requirements but also shows the importance of energy research in Austria and helps to set and test policy goals as well as to recognize respective trends at an early stage.
Energy Research Survey 55/2012

Content Description

Being a member of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Austria is obliged to yearly record all research and development (R&D) projects on the energy sector carried out in Austria and supported resp. financed by means of public funds. The Austrian Energy Agency was appointed by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology to gather and evaluate the data. This annual survey is not only an international obligation but also allows to emphasize the importance of the energy research for Austria and to create and check policy goals. Furthermore, certain trends shall be realised well enough in advance. The survey at hand is geared towards the demands of the IEA as well as the standards of the Frascati Manual (2002, OECD).

In the year 2011, the Austrian public energy R&D expenditure amounted to 120,821,607 Euro. This is almost the same amount as in 2010 (120,979,645 Euro). The expenditures since 1977 are illustrated in fig. 1. During the last years, the high levels of R&D expenditures as experienced in the 1970s in consequence of the oil crises have – inflation-adjusted – again been reached and were even doubled in the past two years.

The expenditures ranged as per topics are recorded in table 1. The sector “energy efficiency” showed a significant increase compared to 2010, whereas most other areas reported – partly even considerable – decreases.

Table 1: Changes compared to 2010 – topics according to the IEA code (2011)
Topics according to the IEA codeExpenditure 2011 in EuroChanges compared to 2010 in EuroChanges compared to 2010 in percent
Energy efficiency 63,696,935 8,019,266 14%
Fossil fuels 1,111,034 199,740 22%
Renewable energy sources 32,772,796 -864,921 -3%
Nuclear fission and fusion 2,627,526 -439,375 -14%
Hydrogen and fuel cells 2,167,197 -1,361,052 -39%
Other power and storage technologies 12,230,966 -5,353,646 -30%
Other cross-cutting technologies or research 6,215,153 -358,050 -5%
Total 120,821,607 -158,038 0

The distribution as per topics in the year 2011 is illustrated in figure 2. Ranked first is the sector “energy efficiency”, followed by “renewable energy sources”. These two areas clearly show the priorities of energy research in Austria. The sub-sectors with the highest expenditures are transportation and traffic (38 million Euro), solar energy (17 million Euro), buildings (14 million Euro) and bioenergy with about 13 million Euro.

Figure 3 shows the temporal development of all topic areas since 2000. On the one hand, it is remarkable that the fraction of the two main fields of Austrian energy research, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, amounted to 80% of the total expenditure in the year 2011. This high proportion has never been reached during the last 15 years. On the other hand, the prioritisation of the energy efficiency becomes apparent. Both facts indicate a consequent setting of priorities associated with the general increase of expenditure in the past years.

The development of public expenditure as well as distinct research financed through federal and state funds are shown in table 2, subdivided by institutions. While the expenditure of the federal provinces had a severe backdrop, the bottom-up oriented basic programmes of the Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the sector of non-university research facilities both showed substantial increases.

Table 2: Changes compared to 2010 - institutions (2011)
InstitutionExpenditure 2011 in EuroChanges compared to 2010 in EuroChanges compared to 2010 in percent
Federal ministries 29,109,691 793,411 3%
Climate and Energy Fund 49,484,424 -1,725,823 -3%
Federal provinces 2,270,106 -5,075,208 -69%
FFG basic programmes 15,645,919 2,583,240 20%
FWF (Austrian Science Fund) 1,067,927 -1,014,368 -49%
Non-university research facilities 13,237,631 3,883,453 42%
Universities of applied sciences (FH) 1,490,883 304,971 26%
Universities 8,515,026 92,285 1%
Total 120,821,607 -158,038 0

The predominant part of the expenditure (81%) was again represented by direct financing (federal ministries, federal provinces, funds), the remaining part of 19% was made up of the distinct research at research facilities (non-university research facilities, universities and universities of applied sciences), funded via equity capital provided by federal and state contributions. The distribution according to institutions is illustrated in figure 4.

The expenditures of the federal ministries, including projects called for by the departments as well as programmes within the respective fields of responsibilities (except for the expenditure of the Climate and Energy Fund, KLIEN) rose by 0.8 million Euro and amounted to 29.1 million Euro in 2011. The main part of this expenditure, namely 61%, was provided by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology.

The tenders of the programme “Neue Energien 2020 – New Energies 2020” totalled to 36 million Euro in 2011 and helped KLIEN again becoming the sampling unit with the highest expenditures. The high expenditure level of 2010 could almost be maintained in 2011 with 49.5 million Euro. It has to be considered that only the energy research-related activities of the Climate Fund were recorded, but not the topic areas climate research and climate impact research or deployment activities.

The total expenditure of the federal provinces amounted to 2.3 million Euro in 2011. The highest share was contributed by Upper Austria with 58%, followed by Vienna with 24%.

The Austrian Research Promotion Fund (FFG) processed 88.8 million Euro in 2011. The prevailing part of this amount is related to programmes run on behalf of the federal ministries and the Climate and Energy Fund. The FFG is the central contact point for funding energy-related R&D projects in Austria. The sector FFG basic programmes, which generally does not process thematically oriented programmes of the ministries or KLIEN but rather bottom-up programmes, was able to increase the expenditure for energy-related R&D to 15.6 million Euro.

The expenditure of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) amounted to 1.1 million Euro for energy-related fundamental research, considerably less than in 2010.

In 2011, energy research-relevant projects from the National (Domestic) Environment Funding (UFI) were processed with a total sum of 0.6 million Euro by the Kommunalkredit Public Consulting (KPC) and related to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management.

The equity capital used for energy-related R&D by non-university research facilities amounted to 13.2 million Euro in the year 2011. With a 88%-proportion of the expenditure, the AIT (Austrian Institute of Technology) tips the scale within this area. Another seven organisations also mentioned the usage of equity capital.

There are currently 22 public universities in Austria. During the past years, eleven of them reported energy research-relevant expenses financed through equity capital. The Vienna University of Technology dominates this sector in 2011. Universities amounted to 8.5 million Euro in total in 2011.

Compared to the “traditional” public universities, the privately run universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen – FH) are quite young institutions, introduced in 1994 as scholar vocational training at university level. There are currently 21 of these universities in Austria with a broad range of courses. During the past years, twelve of them reported energy research activities funded through equity capital, which amounted to a total volume of 1.5 million Euro in 2011.

Only the individual research at the respective institutions, financed through equity capital from federal and state funding, have been included in the figures of non-university research facilities, universities and FH. Contracts of the private industry, projects funded through funding institutions, EU projects etc. have not been considered.

About three quarters of the means were used for applied research, and 21% for experimental development (see fig. 6). Basic research represented a small yet very important portion of 4%. According to new accounting standards of IEA, first of its kind demonstration was for the first time covered by this survey.

The significance of the energy research can also be measured according to the economic performance of political economics, which is shown through the gross domestic product (GDP) (see fig. 7). 2010 peaked with a proportion of 0.042%, due to a GDP increase in 2011 this year showed a proportion of about 0.040%.

Based on the GDP, Austria, with its publicly funded energy-related R&D expenditure, was ranked eighth of 25 IEA and OECD countries in 2010. As regards the expenses for non-nuclear energy research only, Austria was ranked even fifth in 2010. Over the past years, Austria has measured up to the nations leading in energy research and even overtaken some of them, despite their own increase. Unfortunately, there was no international data available for the year 2011 to provide an updated ranking.

In the context of this survey, almost 1,000 activities related to energy R&D have been reported and evaluated. At this point, we want to thank all who supported this survey.

The full report (only available in German) provides a description of the method of data collection and evaluation, followed by a detailed description as per topics and institutions. An own chapter presents reflows from EU programmes (7RP, IEE, RFCS) and contains notes about the expenses of the private sector. A listing of all previous energy research reports, an entire listing of the (sub)topics of the used survey structure can be found in the appendix of the full report.


Energieforschungserhebung 2011

Ausgaben aus der öffentlichen Hand in Österreich.
Schriftenreihe 55/2012 A. Indinger, M. Katzenschlager, Herausgeber: BMVIT
Deutsch, 129 Seiten
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Österreichische Energieagentur - Austrian Energy Agency
DI Andreas Indinger, Marion Katzenschlager
Tel.: +43 (1) 586 15 24 - 111