The pattern of Austria's wind energy growth since 2012 demonstrates the importance of the legal framework, says IG Windkraft, the country's wind energy association. A green energy law passed in 2002 pushed wind power growth for the next four years, but revisions in 2006 and 2009 failed to provide adequate support conditions, resulting in six years of little activity. Another revision in 2012 provided a turn for the better, prompting around 1GW of new installations over three years, a rate of growth the country expects to maintain at least to the end of the decade.
On the negative side, the costs of providing reserve capacity - in case of, for example, power station failure - and keeping the transmission network stable have ballooned since a change of the system in 2012. It has risen from EUR89 million in 2011 to an expected EUR300 million in 2015, even though the volumes of electricity involved have hardly changed, complains IG Windkraft. The association calls for a swift change to the market rules, more cooperation with neighbouring countries, and various other measures to reduce costs quickly.