Sustainable energy for all continues to be our mission. Our relationship with society forms the basis for the responsibility we feel to achieve a clean, reliable and affordable energy supply in collaboration with our customers. Our aim is to save energy, to generate energy together and to supply sustainable energy, and we continue our search for new ways to achieve this.
Our most important collaborative partners are our customers. People and organisations are Eneco customers in many different ways. They include the residents of houses connected to our energy grids, home-owners with our solar panels on their roofs, those living in the vicinity of our energy installations, people who have bought equipment from us and companies who buy our energy or supply it to us.
Our customers are our starting point. This is why we placed even more emphasis on making them the focus of all our thoughts and actions in 2013.
Listening to the customer
Focussing on the customer means listening – really listening – to what our customer has to say. How do our customers regard our services and products? What do our customers need? What ambitions do they have? We involve our customers increasingly in the development of our products and services. Products and services which really do make a difference to them, like smart meters for instance, or residual heat, modified street-lighting and energy displays. In this way we work together as partners towards efficient energy use.
And we look further. We also listen to parties with whom we are connected in other ways, such as residents in the vicinity of our energy projects, politicians who develop legislation and interest groups who promote the welfare of mankind and nature. Eneco wants to be part of society, internationally, nationally, regionally and locally. I will offer a few examples by way of illustration.
- Ahead of the outcomes of the Energy Agreement signed in September, Eneco entered into a collaboration with Solar Green Point at the beginning of 2013. Solar Green Point installed 1,000 solar panels on the roof of the Caballerofabriek building in The Hague, for a collective of new-style solar panel owners. This project provides a good solution for people who cannot or do not want to install solar panels on their own roofs.
- With WWF we are working on a ‘One Planet Thinking’ model. Our ambition is to bring the energy needs of our customers and our own organisation within the limits of a liveable planet – particularly for the generations following us.
- Grid operator Stedin has begun the first phase of the large-scale roll-out of smart energy meters in the Hoeksche Waard area. Between January and June 2014, the grid operator will replace the traditional meters with smart ones at 37,000 households and small businesses. We will conduct information evenings in a number of municipalities in this area to prepare for the switch.
- Ecofys is working with a number of partners on the project, ‘Smart Grid: rendement voor iedereen!’ (Smart Grid: everyone benefits!), for which it develops and tests services relating to Smart Grids at two pilot sites in the municipalities of Utrecht and Amersfoort. Services that are being tested include advice about energy consumption, incentives to shift energy consumption in time, remote demand control and smart charging of electric cars that are shared by multiple users.
- In the preparatory phase for the Macritch Hill wind project in Scotland we drew up a list of agreements together with the local residents. In it we established how we would cooperate in developing the wind farm. We also recorded the guarantee that we would take account of their input during and after the planning process.
These examples reflect our vision for the future: sustainable, decentralised, together. Eneco has opted for a sustainable strategy, because this is the best route – in social, ecological and business economic terms – to keep providing society with energy in the future. We envisage a future where we use energy which is generated increasingly by citizens and companies themselves and become their own producers and suppliers. This means that the relationship with our customers is changing: energy becomes teamwork.
Committed and solution-orientated
Listening is an important first step, but ultimately it’s all about the solutions. Solutions for needs, problems and aspirations. And to find good solutions, we like to share our knowledge and expertise. Together with our partners we improve the existing technologies and we develop new ones, with which customers can save energy and with which we can generate sustainable energy more efficiently and more cheaply.
- For Belgacom, one of Belgium’s largest phone companies, we provide around a hundred shops with electricity generated locally from wind energy.
- For the Audi factory in Vorst, we have invested in Belgium’s largest solar panel roof. The power generated is used entirely by the Audi factory.
- In 2013 we began development of our first major solar power project in Great Britain. Through a private electricity grid, the 10 MW of power from this installation is transmitted directly to the nearby Honda factory in Swindon.
- Our revolutionary Toon thermostat, which gives customers insight into their energy consumption, can already be found in many households. We sold 29,000 of them in 2013. Our customers rate Toon with an average of 7.5.
- With our Energy Savings Companies (ESCOs) we offer a customised package for energy savings and efficiency and take over all the responsibilities from the owners of the relevant buildings. At De Kunsthal, an exhibition space in Rotterdam built twenty years ago, an ESCO with energy-saving measures such as insulation and climate control yields a saving of 30 percent.
- We deploy Direct Current (DC) whenever that leads to energy and raw material savings. In 2013 we created a DC grid in the PrimaViera (Haarlemmermeer) horticulture area.
- Our grid operator Stedin commissioned a steam pipeline in the Botlek area in 2013, through which residual steam is transported from one company to another. This lets the company receiving the steam save on gas consumption while also reducing carbon emissions. In this way, some 200 to 400 kilotons of carbon emissions can be saved annually in the port area.
- Growing numbers of customers are making a conscious choice for our electricity product, HollandseWind, electricity generated from wind-turbines in our own country. In 2013 the share of HollandseWind among our corporate customers grew to 35 per cent of all green energy sold. Interest is also considerable from household customers.
Listening well to customers to find solutions also means our organisation being set up accordingly, a process we continued in 2014. It is also a process in which maintaining a safe working environment is crucial. For our own employees as well as for contractors and subcontractors working on our projects. Our continued focus enables us to improve our safety performance year after year. We also continue to make organisational changes: in 2014 there will be one point of contact for our customers where they can do all their business. This means assisting everyone better, more quickly and more clearly.
Not only do we listen to the individual, but we also assess what society needs, what we as a company can mean for society in the Netherlands and elsewhere. Are we on the right track, are we investing in the right energy sources? Despite major conflicts in interests, employers, trades unions and environmental organisations reached an Energy Agreement with the Dutch government in 2013, a roadmap towards much more sustainable energy and energy savings. Eneco contributed to this, and endorses the outcome. It encompasses concrete agreements on how our country will move from 4% of sustainable energy today, to 16% in the decade ahead.
We will contribute to this, keeping in mind the interests of society. We are doing this in the United Kingdom too, for instance, where we are cooperating closely with the community surrounding our energy producing installations, such as wind farms. The starting point is that the community must benefit from it. In 2013, we completed the 69MW Lochluichart wind farm in the Scottish Highlands, where we devoted 3.5 million pounds to local work activities. We also opened an operational base in Inverness which provided local jobs.
A strong company, a sustainable future
In financial terms 2013 was a good year for Eneco. The revenue of 5,251 million euros was virtually the same as that of the previous year (5,256 million euros) and the earnings before depreciation (EBITDA) rose from 776 to 877 million euros. Eneco continues to be a solid company, a factor which should not be underestimated. After all, European countries need strong energy utilities, which invest in a sustainable future and help to achieve the climate objectives. With projects like the Eneco Bio Golden Raand biomass power station, numerous wind farms, the construction of a major heat transportation pipeline and making energy grids smarter, Eneco has again invested substantially this year in making our energy supply more sustainable. The total in sustainable investment in 2013 was around 400 million euros. A few examples:
- The realisation of Eneco Bio Golden Raand in Delfzijl, which converts wood chips into electricity and gives us an extra 49.9 MW of sustainable power. We already have several wind turbines in the same municipality, and we are working closely with Groningen Seaports to place more installations. The Delfzijl Noord project, with 19 wind turbines, is already under construction, and we are giving shape to a variety of new projects together with the local community. In terms of new energy infrastructures such as heat, steam, CO2 and syngas, we are working with Groningen Seaports in this region on the further development of (residual) energy exchange between companies in the energy and chemicals cluster.
- In 2013, Eneco made a start on laying a new pipeline route of 17 kilometres to transport heat from the AVR waste energy plant in Rozenburg to Rotterdam. When the pipeline is put into operation in 2014, Eneco will be able to supply heat through the existing local heat grid to 45,000 homes and companies in Rotterdam. This will enable us to save 95 kilotons of carbon emissions annually. The construction, which required a substantial investment, occurs in close collaboration with those living in the vicinity.
- Substantial investments have also been made in the gas and electricity grids, in particular in connection to the development of smart grids. Examples of this are the Couperus project in the Ypenburg district in The Hague and a smart grid in the Hoog Dalem district in Gorinchem, which offers insight into energy consumption, facilitates the use of solar panels and enables the storage of electrical energy.
- We are investing in training our own technicians. Participants include people who are having difficulty finding a job for whom this training to become an electricity or gas technician forms a new opportunity. This project is carried out in collaboration with the Rotterdam and Amsterdam municipalities.
Our ambition is to continue investing as a strong company. The greatest risk we run is a possible forced unbundling of Eneco, because this would weaken our funding capacity for implementing our strategy. Our aim thus remains to continue to be one integrated energy company.
Jeroen de Haas
Chairman of the Board of Management of Eneco Holding N.V.