Energy R&D: Private and public Expenditures in Austria 2017

In 2017 Austria’s business sector enterprises invested 681 Mio Euro of their internal expenditures for research and development in the field of energy. The report includes detailed figures and analysis of different energy technologies concerning private and public R&D-expenditures.

Bibliographic Data

Energy Research Survey 54/2019
A. Indinger
Publisher: BMVIT
German, 68 pages

Content Description

Austria is obliged to yearly collect all energy-related research, development and first-of-its-kind demonstration projects, which are supported and financed by means of public funds. Austria has been reporting these figures for more than 40 years, recent years saw levels around 140 million euros. Private expenditures for R&D are covered every two years in a mandatory survey for the whole business enterprise sector, but it is only since 2015 that energy relevant activities can be identified in these data-sets. In 2017, about 561 companies marked 681 million euros as energy relevant R&D – an increase of almost 200 million euro from 2015. Analysis shows that most of this increase is primarily due to reallocation of R&E-expenditures to other socio-economic objectives by (most likely) only one big company.

Austria's government tax relief for R&D expenditures, which increased from 12% to 14%, was also analysed in this report. Estimates of energy related expenditures from this tax relief indicate more moderate levels than data reported in the R&D-survey.

In Upper Austria 125 companies identified energy research expenditures, the highest number of all nine provinces. Looking at the classification of industries, almost every sector is engaged in energy related R&D. In 2017, most expenditures were recorded in the sectors of power electronics, chips as well as electrical equipment. The utility sector provided a comparatively small share of only 18 million euros.

Photovoltaics saw a moderate increase to 20 million euros for company based R&D. For the sector of solarthermal, decline continued in private and public R&D expenditures, production figures as well as installations in Austria. Austrian companies in the wind energy sector (mostly suppliers) maintained their R&D-level at about 10 million euros. The hydropower sector could increase its expenditures to 66 million euros in 2017. Companies engaged in technologies for the production of biofuels (solid, liquid and biogases) reduced their means below 5 million euros in 2017 (in contrary to that development, pubic expenditures in this sector saw an increase). Companies fabricating stoves, boilers etc. to convert solid biomass into heat and/or electricity showed some minor reduction to 26 million euros – this was in line with a decline of production figures. Private R&D-expenditures in technologies for heating and cooling stayed almost stable between 9 and 10 million euros, with an intersectoral shift towards heat pump systems. Public and private expenditures for batteries increased substantially from 2015 to 2017 up to 22 million euros. Lighting technologies – seeing a substantial change of its technology base to LED – summed up to 100 million euros for private R&D, but only some part of that total figure can be attributed to energy research. About 1.700 researchers (full-time-equivalents) worked in companies in the nine technology areas analyzed in this report.