Even More H2Ö for Germany: Full VERBUND Hydropower Ahead!
VERBUND, Austria’s leading electricity company, has been Bavaria’s largest hydropower producer since 24 April 2013. Wednesday’s transaction closing, following all antitrust and miscellaneous regulatory approvals, saw VERBUND take over shares from Germany’s E.ON in eight hydropower plants on the rivers Inn and Danube. With a total of 21 run-of-river power plants, VERBUND is now annually producing some 4 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in Germany, an amount corresponding to the annual consumption of some 1.2 million private households. At today’s media breakfast in Munich, Wolfgang Anzengruber, CEO of VERBUND AG, personally spoke of the importance of the German electricity market for VERBUND, its position on the energy turnaround and policy, and the possibilities that are arising for electricity supply.
We are clearly concentrating on hydropower, majority shareholdings and on our most important markets in Germany and Austria. This transaction strengthens our position as one of Europe’s leading hydropower producers. Among other things, we are therewith increasing our electricity production from run-of-river power plants by 9 %.
Hydropower is in our DNA
"Hydropower is - and remains - in our DNA," said Anzengruber. "There is barely a second electricity company in Europe that is ‘married’ to hydropower as a technology to such an extent. It is – against the background of today’s economic and energy industry parameters – the right decision to concentrate on this core competence."
VERBUND supports the energy turnaround in the common domestic electricity market
Europe’s energy industry is undergoing a fundamental change. Added to this are the currently precarious underlying conditions of both the European and global economy, which are leaving no industry untouched.
"The energy turnaround requires a sense of proportion and is to be viewed holistically," explained Anzengruber. "We need better coordination of the energy turnaround in the European Union. Countries must cooperate more closely with their pumped storage plants, e.g. in Austria, Germany, Switzerland. We must create a common domestic electricity market that works – a key goal of European energy policy. It must guarantee sustainable, competitive and secure energy supply," stressed the hydropower specialist. As Europe’s largest political economy, Germany plays an important role in this.
In the process, investment should be made in the energy infrastructures and energy efficiency increased. However, Anzengruber emphasised that electricity is and must continue to be affordable and environmentally friendly.
The energy market must be considered "anew", the CO2 market reformed, the renewable energy sources integrated in the competition, market constraints abolished and price elasticity increased. Anzengruber is thus advocating standardised regulations for the transnational marketing of system services and for faster approval processes in the expansion of power grids. "It doesn’t help matters to back renewable energy if the ‘green’ electricity cannot be transported," said the CEO.
VERBUND in Germany: H2Ö
Germany is VERBUND’s most important electricity market outside Austria. With its pumped storage and reserve power plants in the shared market area with Germany, VERBUND has already made a contribution to grid stability and secure electricity supply in the energy turnaround.
In Germany, VERBUND has had 13 hydropower plants - with a capacity of 312 megawatts - on Bavaria’s river Inn since 2009, one of which (Gars) is currently being reinforced with an additional turbine. The concluding of the share exchange with E.ON has resulted in a further eight hydropower plants in Bavaria - on the Inn and the Danube - being added to the mix. The 2012 purchase of five wind farms in Rhineland-Palatinate, with a total capacity of 86 MW, is providing further impetus and consolidating VERBUND’s market position. From two offices in Munich and Dusseldorf, VERBUND provides customer service and supplies electricity from the premium brand H2Ö to industry customers such as Volkswagen, Deutsche Bahn and re-distributors such as Stadtwerke.
Bavaria is VERBUND’s second homeland
Since 24 April 2013, VERBUND has been a 100% owner of Grenzkraftwerke GmbH, Österreichisch-Bayerischen Kraftwerke AG, Donaukraftwerk Jochenstein AG and Innwerk AG. VERBUND’s hydropower production is being increased by a further 2 TWh to a total of some 4 TWh through the eight run-of-river power plants in Bavaria. This equates to an annual electricity consumption of some 1.2 million households. All of the approx. 200 employees of the power plants have been taken on by VERBUND, whereby the company now employs more than 400 employees in Bavaria. VERBUND was already involved - either directly or indirectly - in the acquired run-of-river power plants and held electricity procurement rights. Since 2009, the company has invested more than 110 million euro in Bavarian hydropower in the form of power plant projects, renaturation and inspection.
VERBUND is therewith further expanding its position as one of Europe’s most important producers of electricity from hydropower and is the second-largest hydropower producer in Germany and the largest in Bavaria.