Recession slashes power consumption

By William GreenPower
consumption plunged this year amid an industry downturn because of the
recession, the Association of Austrian Electricity Enterprises (VEÖ)
said today (Tues).VEÖ said the fall reached its lowest point in April, when consumption was down by 10.3 per cent year on year.Declines
of 6.1 per cent and 7.1 per cent occurred year on year in May and June,
respectively, VEÖ added, citing its own figures and those of Austrian
electricity regulator Energy Control (E-Control).The last month
in which an increase in consumption occurred was September 2008, when
it went up by 2.8 per cent year on year, the group said.VEÖ
President Wolfgang Anzengruber said today electricity consumption would
probably fall 7.0 to 7.5 per cent in 2009 compared to 2008.He
added, however, that a temporary decline would not deter investment by
firms in the electricity industry. “Investment is calculated on a
long-term basis. We are investing for the next 40, 50 or 60 years.”Anzengruber
predicted hydroelectric power plants would supply a tenth of Austria’s
electricity in 2020 at a cost of 8.4 billion Euros in investment.He
linked the decline in electricity consumption to the decline in
industrial production since last October because of the recession.Industrial
production was down year on year by 10.8 per cent in April, 13.5 per
cent in May and 11.4 per cent in June, according to Anzengruber.Anzengruber
said the paper and printing sector consumed 18.3 per cent, the iron and
steel sector 13.7 per cent and the chemical and petrochemical sector
13.6 per cent of all electricity used by industry annually.Together,
those three sectors used half of all electricity used by industry
annually or a fifth of all electricity consumed in Austria, twice as
much as that consumed by households.Overall, electricity consumption had declined by 5.4 per cent year on year in the first six months of 2009, he said.Lower
consumption, in turn, resulted in lower power imports, which totaled
255 million kilowatt hours in the first six months of 2009 compared to
three billion kilowatt hours in the first half of 2008.Walter
Hauer of the Hauer Unweltwirtschaft GmbH environmental research firm
recently said a 30-per-cent drop in the volume of goods transported on
the back of a four-per-cent fall in gross domestic product (GDP) this
year would lead to a reduction in industrial energy consumption of 20
per cent and reduce the volume of rubbish produced in industrial
production by 25 per cent.