|VERBUND is Austria’s leading energy supplier, employing nearly 3,000 staff and producing 40% of Austria’s total electricity requirements. 90% of the energy it creates comes from hydro power, which represents the second highest proportion in Europe. The company achieved a turnover of €3.5bn in 2009, and runs 137 power stations.||
“One of the key challenges of the 21st century is the rising demand for energy.” Ms Schurin
Outside of Austria, VERBUND has heavily invested in several key markets, holding shares in the following companies: Poweo (France, 46 %), Sorgenia (Italy, 45 %), EnerjiSA (Turkey, 50%), and Energji Ashta (Albania 50 %). With dwindling fossil fuel resources and increasing demand for power, VERBUND is striving to become the leading hydro power supplier in Europe, making significant investments over the next five years to achieve this goal.
Investing into the Future
In terms of hydro power stations, VERBUND is currently running 123 plants in Austria and Bavaria, with a combined output of 7,500 MW. Further plants are under construction in Austria which will add another 520 MW when completed, and a further 1,395 MW worth of power stations are in the planning stages at the moment. Add to this another 1,100 MW from plants under construction with its partners in France, Italy, Albania and Turkey, and it becomes clear that VERBUND is set on achieving its goals.
Ines Schurin, VERBUND international spokesperson, explains: “Simply put, we want to make electricity more environment-friendly. By increasing the output of our existing power stations and constructing more efficient new ones, in particular those driven by hydro power, we are creating energy that is low or free from CO2 emissions; in addition, we are keen to explore new applications and technologies such as electric mobility and energy management.”
To further strengthen the company and increase its financial flexibility to enable the planned investments, VERBUND has realized a capital increase of €1bn in November 2010. Listed on the Vienna and Frankfurt Stock Exchange, the Austrian government holds a 51% majority stake, which it will continue to do following the increase.
“One of the key challenges of the 21st century is the rising demand for energy”, Ms Schurin outlines. “Current prognoses predict a 45% increase in demand by 2030, making it ever more vital to secure the supply, as at the same time reserves of fossil fuels will begin to dry up. This is why we, along with our partners, see electric mobility as THE technology to keep us moving in the future – provided that the power required to run the vehicles can be sourced using renewable energy. Out of the 4.3m cars currently registered in Austria, 200,00 will run on electricity by 2020.”
Visions for a Greener Future
Ines Schurin: “A not altogether distant vision we are pursuing is an energy system that is made up of a mixture of central and decentralised production units (such as solar cells on individual homes), which will be controlled by a ‘smart grid’ with ‘smart meters’. We are actively working with research facilities and trade partners on making this type of power system of the future a reality.”
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