Where do power plants get their light from?

Where does my electricity come from?

Did you know that Austria is a true role model when it comes to power generation and the use of renewable energy? Thanks to an efficient generation mix, our domestic electricity is one of the lowest emissions in Europe (i.e. pollutants) per kilowatt hour (this is the unit of energy that is used for household energy requirements and the calculation of the corresponding energy costs). This makes Austria one of the countries with the highest shares of renewable energies within the EU.

Energy generation mix

In Austria, energy is obtained from several sources. Hence the term "production mix". Most of the electricity comes from hydropower plants. With a share of around 60.5 percent, those plants have the greatest importance for domestic energy generation. The remaining electricity is produced on the one hand by thermal fossil power plants, i.e. with the help of natural gas, crude oil, coal, etc. On the other hand, electricity is generated from renewable forms of energy such as wind, photovoltaics and geothermal energy (Geothermal energy) won. Incidentally, renewable energy refers to energy sources that are practically unlimited for sustainable energy supply or that regenerate relatively quickly.

Austrian energy is therefore mainly produced in an environmentally friendly and clean manner. With the help of the flexible mix of energy sources, the security of electricity supply can be guaranteed at all times in Austria.

In Styria, the use of renewable energy sources to provide electricity - primarily through the use of hydropower - has a long tradition. In the field of electrical energy, hydropower is also a leader here, to which the larger hydropower plants recently built in Styria, such as the Mur power plants in Kalsdorf and Gössendorf, contribute accordingly.

... and how is it in Graz?

As a customer of Energie Graz, you can even assume that 100 percent of your electricity comes from renewable energy sources. Together with its subsidiary, "Solar Graz", Energie Graz is already making a remarkable contribution to the energy transition. As an energy service provider, it is obliged to mark the origin of the electricity accordingly.

Composition "Graz Strom Klassik" (marked 1.1. - 31.12.2019)

What is completely omitted here are fossil fuel generation plants and with them the CO2 emissions that arise during production.

You have probably already discovered one or the other power generator in our state capital. Just think, for example, of the newly built Mur power plant, where electricity is generated from electricity in the truest sense of the word. You have probably also noticed some of the countless photovoltaic systems that provide top performance for us on sunny days.

With projects such as Smart City Graz, the City of Graz is also relying on well-thought-out, innovative energy models and technologies in order to make the most efficient use of the rapidly growing city with its limited settlement areas. The careful use of resources is a prerequisite for sustainable urban development. The Smart City Graz projects therefore focus on energy efficiency, resource conservation and low emissions. Part of this is, for example, the construction of decentralized photovoltaic systems including storage in order to produce regional and local natural electricity.

# mission2030

Most of our domestic electricity comes from renewable sources. This makes Austria a pioneer in Europe when it comes to the electricity sector.

However, the Austrian climate and energy strategy, which was adopted in May 2018 with the title # mission2030, further provides that electricity by 2030 generated to the extent that national consumption 100 percent from renewable energy sources is covered. This means that all renewable energy sources and the infrastructure have to be expanded. Storage solutions must also be created and many investments made in energy efficiency. At the same time, this is slowly but surely heralding the end of fossil power generation, which in turn has a positive effect on climate protection. Among other things, this would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 36 percent by 2030 compared to 2005.

Energie Graz has set itself the goal of contributing to the following international climate protection efforts and the EU sustainability goals for 2030:

  • Reduction of greenhouse gases by 40 percent
  • Increase in energy efficiency by at least 27 percent
  • as well as increasing the share of renewable energy to 27 percent

In December 2020, the European Union agreed to raise the EU climate target for 2030 from the original 40 percent reduction in EU-internal greenhouse gas emissions to 55-60 percent compared to 1990. In order to implement this, a number of legislative proposals to adapt the existing EU climate and energy legislation will be presented by the EU Commission in the course of 2021.

One of them is this Renewable Expansion Act (EAG)that creates the necessary legal and organizational framework to achieve this goal. The EAG is to come into force before summer 2021 and thus follow the 2012 Green Electricity Act. You can find more details here.

(Editor's note: Update of this part of the article in April 2021)

We Graz residents are the ones who can benefit from it and even participate in it.

Natural power, green power & Co.

The electricity you use at home is almost certainly already CO2-neutral, free of nuclear power and mostly environmentally friendly (depending on the energy service provider). So why still use natural electricity, or what does it actually stand for nature and what is the difference to green electricity?

Solar Graz makes it possible

At Energie Graz, natural power is actually supplied through the subsidiary, which Solar Graz, offered. Solar Graz, like Energie Graz, is committed to ecological responsibility. Therefore, Solar Graz is fully dedicated to the effective use of renewable and, above all, regional energy sources. One of the company's goals is to make clean energy accessible to everyone in Graz in order to jointly shape our future and our environment in a sustainable and fundamentally ecological way. Solar Graz guarantees that the entire annual consumption of electrical energy is generated in environmentally friendly power plants based on renewable energy.

When we talk about green electricity, we mean electrical energy that is generated purely by solar, water or wind power. What distinguishes Solar Graz's natural electricity from conventional electricity is its composition and its origin. It consists of 100 percent renewable, regional energy sources. Electricity is characterized by the fact that it is generated in an environmentally friendly way. In the case of Naturstrom from Solar Graz, these are various photovoltaic systems and hydropower plants in the immediate vicinity.

By purchasing natural electricity, you are investing in the expansion of domestic, renewable energy sources and thus sustainably strengthening the regional economy. This also explains why green electricity / natural electricity is a little more cost-intensive compared to conventional electricity. In terms of climate protection and the contribution that we can easily make, it is worth the few euros more, in my opinion, but definitely worth it. In addition, by using clean electricity, we are reducing our ecological footprint.

An investment in solar power

This offers another opportunity to make a contribution to positive changes in energy generation, i.e. to the energy transition Solar investor modelof Energie Graz. Every person with a main residence in Graz does not have to buy a property right away in order to invest their money well, safely and profitably. As Solar investors it is possible to invest in the power of the sun and in the expansion of photovoltaic systems within the city of Graz and the surrounding area. Companies can also become solar investors. Energie Graz has developed its own model for this - the Solar feeder PRO.

Get electricity with a clear conscience

How is that supposed to work? Very easily. Within the city you have the opportunity to buy solar modules that produce pure natural electricity. This will make you a natural electricity customer of Solar Graz and get that sustainable electricity in your home. You can easily choose how many modules you want to purchase and the exact location of the systems yourself.

The new photovoltaic system built by Energie Graz in Oeverseegasse in 2019 is available for solar investors.

As a solar investor, you also benefit from an annual natural electricity bonus of 3.3 percent on your investment amount, which is credited to your electricity bill. As a solar investor, you also have a full capital guarantee. In other words, if you cancel, you will get your entire investment back.

The exact conditions for this are listed here. With the help of your annual electricity consumption, you can easily calculate from how many modules an investment in the sun is most worthwhile for you. In my opinion, it always pays off anyway. Not only financially, but also for the good feeling that comes when you think about making a sustainable contribution to our future. The solar investor certificate, which you receive when purchasing existing photovoltaic modules, will remind you of this every day.

From the power plant to my home

We now know where the electricity comes from and how it is produced. But how does it get from the respective power plant to our home if, for example, you are not in possession of a photovoltaic system on the roof yourself?

Above all, you need a primary energy for this. As already mentioned, this can be renewable or fossil. With the help of the energy source, i.e. sun, water or coal, electricity is generated in different power plants and distributed to different network levels via the electricity grid. The APG (Austrian Power Grid, operator of the Austrian transmission network) Together with the individual distribution networks in the federal states and cities, it forms a branched supply network. In Graz it is mostly that Stromnetz Grazwhich ensures security of supply and the connection between power plants and us end consumers.

Power lines are required to transport electricity over these networks. These can occur underground as underground lines or above ground as overhead lines. From the power station, the electricity primarily goes to a substation. There you are in a High voltage level with voltages of 220 kilovolts.

Graz North substation

This electricity, however, would not be usable in our households, so it is transformed in transformer stations down to a voltage of 230-400 volts in a consumer-friendly way before it finally reaches our house connections and thus our sockets via distribution systems. A long journey that electricity, which has become so natural, makes for us every day. Fortunately, thanks to the broad power grid, this works almost flawlessly.

Oh, you dear electricity

Whether you purchase conventional electricity or natural electricity and whether you are a solar investor or not is of course up to you. Regardless of this, in Austria you can be sure that your electricity will be produced CO2-neutral, nuclear-free and largely from renewable sources at all times. Thanks to the energy mix and a well-branched power grid, you can also assume that the power supply is secure at all times.