Potential for Growth and Exports of Renewable Energy Systems
Austrian companies and research institutes in the field of the production of renewable energy technologies have several areas of strengths and internationally recognized know-how. A strong technology leadership leads to a broad coverage of the domestic market and in addition also good export opportunities. The excellent international position of Austrian companies is due to targeted research and technology development, as well as the overall increase in demand for renewable energy technologies within and outside Austria. However, there are quite large differences in these strengths among the renewable energy technology areas. The main content of this study are the growth and export potential of the Austrian production of renewable energy technology derived up to 2030 under changing energy-economic and political conditions. Conclusions and recommendations arising from these issues regarding the future importance of the production of renewable energy technologies provide guidance for setting the strategic direction of research and technology development.
The focus of the work thus lie in the comprehensive analysis of the areas of strengths by means of e.g., the Austrian know-how (patents), the public research and development expenditure and the revenue and employment figures of recent years. On this basis - by coupling with the analysis of the current business landscape - different scenarios show future, medium- and long-term economic development potential of the production of renewable energy technologies in Austria and worldwide. Thus it is possible to exploit and expand Austrian strengths and develop international leadership in the most promising energy technologies.
The results show in particular that the hydropower industry and the production of biomass boilers are the dominant sectors in terms of sales and employees. Moreover, all evaluated renewable energy technologies show a strong export orientation. However, with regard to their position in the value chain, these renewable energy technologies vary significantly. While the domestic production of biomass boilers, solar thermal collectors and heat pumps concentrates on final goods, the Austrian photovoltaic production is focused on components, niche segments and specialty commodities. The Austrian wind energy industry consists almost entirely of sub-suppliers. Overall, the Austrian producers of renewable energy technologies achieved a turnover of more than EUR 2.2 billion and employed approximately 9450 persons (full time equivalent) in 2010. Taking macro-economic effects into account this leads to EUR 3.5 billion added value and 24.700 jobs. From the results, inter alia, the following important recommendations for energy policy and companies can be derived:
- Long-term, continuous alignment of the energy research policy with an appropriate budget strengthens Austrian know-how and contributes significantly to associated renewable energy technology leadership.
- Products with a high degree of specialization and high technological content can be produced in Austria also in the long term; for example, the inverter manufacturing, coatings for rotor blades and backing films for photovoltaic modules. In contrast, the mass production of technologically simple standard products with a low level of innovation is hardly feasible in Austria in the long term. Therefore, a niche strategy and / or technological leadership are desirable.
Scenarios up to 2030 illustrate the growth potential of the production of renewable energy technologies in Austria. The scenarios suggest that it is extremely important to detect changes in market conditions and innovations as quickly as possible and to put appropriate emphasis on early adaptation. At this point, both, companies and policy makers are challenged.
Dipl.-Ing. Raphael Bointner
Technische Universität Wien
Institut für Energiesysteme und Elektrische Antriebe, Energy Economics Group (EEG)
Project or cooperation partner
- Michael Bayr, Peter Biermayr, Raphael Bointner, Lukas Kranzl
TU-Wien, Institut für Energiesysteme und Elektrische Antriebe (EEG)
- Christina Friedl, Robert Tichler
Energieinstitut an der Johannes Kepler Universität Linz GmbH (EI)
- Franz Mauthner, Werner Weiss
AEE - Institut für nachhaltige Technologien (AEE INTEC)
- Angela Köppl
Österreichisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (WIFO)