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7 Nov, 2022 14:26

Austrians urged to save ‘every kilowatt hour’

The country’s power grid could reach its load limit this winter, a system operator has warned
Austrians urged to save ‘every kilowatt hour’

Austrian officials have urged citizens to reduce their energy consumption after the stress testing the country’s grid system showed that a cold winter could push the country’s power supply to the limit.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Austrian Climate and Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler warned of a tough months ahead, with the network's operator calling the “situation extremely challenging but manageable” in a “realistic scenario.”

The minister noted that critical scenarios would become less likely if people and companies used electricity sparingly. “This is why I ask everyone in our country – help, save energy if you can. Together we will overcome this crisis.”

The stress-testing carried out by the national grid operator APG comes amid growing fears over energy security this winter. Austria had previously relied on Russia for 80% of its gas imports. With the EU goal to reduce energy dependence on Moscow, Vienna needs to find more expensive alternative supplies. According to officials, large companies would have to slash energy consumption if power plants failed in Germany or if fewer nuclear power plants continued to operate in France.

“The stress test is not an indicator of a blackout,” APG CEO Gerhard Christiner insisted, while warning that “extreme events” such as a very cold winter can “never be ruled out,” adding that “every kilowatt hour that is saved makes a difference.”

In June, Austria reopened its largest coal-fired power plant due to concerns over a possible emergency in gas supplies, returning to the use of fossil fuel despite a commitment to fight climate change.

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