Strategy development process
A structured annual strategy process is a prerequisite for consistent control over the Energie AG Group’s long-term business development. Analyses of market developments (risks and opportunities) are used to derive strategies and measures that sustainably warrant cost efficiency and profitability.
The strategic course of Energie AG was charted in the Group strategy conferences held in virtual space in April and July of 2020. The economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis and the different scenarios for an economic recovery were analysed and the strategic key areas of the business and service units were determined.
Reliability in supply and waste management services
The COVID-19 pandemic presents Energie AG with enormous challenges in securing the uninterrupted operation of critical infrastructure (power plants, electricity and gas grids, telecommunication, water supply and waste water management). The very high level of security and quality of supply was successfully maintained, last but not least thanks to the stringent implementation of the strategy pursued by Energy AG.
Netz Oberösterreich GmbH (Netz OÖ) secures the energy supply in Upper Austria with a modern and reliable electricity and natural gas grid and is Austria’s pioneer in the roll-out of smart meter technology.
In addition to a high-performance grid infrastructure, the security of supply also depends on a secure and flexible energy output. The CCGT (combined cycle gas-turbine) power plant in Timelkam plays an important role in congestion management here, and in grid reserve management for transmission system operators. Energie AG’s own gas storage rights (or gas storage contracts) and subsidiaries support the high degree of flexibility. In the future, the development and application of new technologies and intelligent system solutions for the integration of volatile decentralised electricity generation systems (solar, wind) and flexible consumer systems (battery storage, e-mobility, heat storage) will also be of particular importance.
The Waste Management Segment guarantees solutions in the areas of waste and recyclable materials to the highest technological and ecological standards and, due to the two incineration plants in Wels and Lenzing, makes a significant contribution to waste management in Austria.
Energie AG has succeeded in establishing itself as a reliable drinking water, waste water management, space heating and hot water supply company in the Czech Republic Segment. The Group intends to deepen its partnerships with municipalities while simultaneously boosting efficiency and competitiveness by making targeted investments in its own water, waste water and heating infrastructure as well as making constant upgrades to the Group’s equipment and vehicle fleet.
Energie AG installs and operates a modern telecommunication infrastructure in Upper Austria and has been investing in the extension of future-proof fibre-optic technologies for around two decades. The Company's goal is to advance the digitalisation and increase the attractiveness of Upper Austria for businesses and residents alike. The majority of public buildings in Upper Austria as well as many companies and private households are already connected to the Group's fibre-optic network.
The most significant advantage of the fibre-optic technology is the elimination of bandwidth sharing (as is required for the 5G network) and the virtually limitless extension of up- and download data capacities. Under the Group's 5G strategy, own investments in the 5G technology are replaced by providing infrastructure to the mobile phone companies, which further contributes to the extension of broadband capacities in Upper Austria.
“Secure digital services”
Digitalisation is one of the greatest challenges for Energie AG. On the one hand, the competitive environment is changing at an enormous speed; on the other, innovative, digital approaches are now available that Energie AG Group intends to use for efficient processes and for new business models. True to the motto of “secure digital services”, Energie AG is actively shaping Upper Austria's digital future in collaboration with its customers and partners. Therefore key topics and objectives, and a corresponding roadmap have been developed and consistently implemented.
Enabler of the energy transition and the circular economy
The national energy and climate targets for 2030 as well as the decarbonisation path to be pursued up to 2040 are a very challenging step towards the future energy supply in Austria. From the perspective of Energie AG, it is relevant to take a holistic, integrated look at the entire energy system, taking into account the electricity and heat and mobility sectors (“sector coupling”).
In the area of electricity procurement, Energie AG has used its own 43 hydropower plants and corresponding rights to procure electricity generated from renewable energy sources. Energie AG Group also operates 71 large solar power plants (of which 53 solar contracting plants have been installed at customers) and holds interests in four wind farms across Austria.
Energie AG supports the current government's programme for 2020-2024 by making sustainable strategic decisions. This includes plans for the implementation of a number of power plant projects in the areas of hydroelectric power, solar and wind power that, by the year 2030, will increase the electricity generated by renewable sources by around 20 percent. These efforts made by Energie AG are an important contribution to achieving climate neutrality and security of supply in the future.
The expansion projects pursued by Energie AG provide economic impetus with a high local value creation that is especially welcome during the recession brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. For each million Euro invested, Energie AG generates an additional gross value of around EUR 0.5 million and approximately six jobs.
In order to achieve its growth targets, Energie AG makes use of strategic partnerships, offers comprehensive contracting solutions and enters into cooperation agreements.
Energie AG is committed to a responsible and sustainable treatment of the environment and conducts its activities with the aim of supporting the following three dimensions: security of supply, climate protection/sustainability and competitiveness/performance in the energy policy triangle. Further information on the fundamental political and regulatory framework can be found in the Group Management Report, Energy and climate politics and Fundamental legal and regulatory framework in the Grid Segment.
Most Energie AG Group projects pursue the objective of advancing the use of renewable energy and improving energy efficiency on the one hand, while on the other hand reducing the consumption of resources and production of waste both within the Group as well as at the customer with the aim of sustainably supporting the energy and climate goals.
As the energy supplier for Upper Austria, Energie AG has positioned itself as a strong regional partner for its customers and is an important economic factor for the state. A high degree of regional value creation is achieved by the generation of energy in our home state, extensive investments in infrastructure projects across the state (expansion of electricity generation systems, fibre-optic network etc.) and the associated creation of jobs.
The digitalisation provides an important impetus for the region. Energy AG advances the developments in the area of pioneering technologies and uses them to increase the quality of its customers' lives in their direct environment – e.g. by providing the means for a more efficient use of energy and fibre-optic internet connections that enable residents of lesser developed areas to find attractive home office jobs.
Similar to Austria, the water and heat markets in the Czech Republic are distinguished by a very regional structure. All services provided by Energie AG in the Czech Republic are rendered by seven regional and local water utility companies, five heat utility companies and one mixed water and heat utility company.
With its activities, the Energie AG Group makes a material contribution to the sustainable development of the quality of life and the economy in the regions in which it operates.
The focus on the customer
The Energie AG Group stands for high-quality, reliable products and services, which it continuously and consistently adapts to customers’ needs. New innovative solutions aim at generating additional value for the consumer, e.g. by creating special incentives for the purchase of environmentally friendly products or by digitally supporting the consumers' decision-making processes.
Energie AG ascertains the needs of its customers by approaching them pro-actively, involving them in decision-making progresses, and creating a transparent and open communication that forms the basis for a similarly trusting and valued exchange with them.
In its business environment, Energie AG stands for sustainable and fair solutions, which it can guarantee on the basis of permanent process optimisation efforts. This enables Energie AG to continue to offer electricity customers stable prices despite rising wholesale prices since 2018 and the separation of electricity price zones between Germany and Austria on 1 October 2018.
Customers have particularly high expectations for Energie AG Group when it comes to measures aimed at protecting the environment and the Company's involvement in social causes. In the case of environmental protection, the company meets these expectations by investing in renewable energies and the establishment of a sustainable circular economy. Turning to social responsibility, Energie AG contributes to the public welfare by providing ongoing support in the areas of health, education, sport, arts and culture as well as charitable and not-for-profit activities. The Group has clearly articulated its solidarity when it actively supported customers that were severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Safeguarding the legitimate interests of its customers is a top priority for Energie AG. This not only applies with respect to an ethically exemplary treatment of customers in accordance with the Group's Code of Conduct, but also when it comes to the handling of personal data. Internal controls have been implemented to assure the Group's compliance with the relevant regulations. An awareness campaign in the autumn months of 2019 focused on raising our employees' awareness for the prudent handling of customer data and potential risks (cyber crime etc.).
Energie AG's financial goal is to achieve attractive returns, to sustainably secure the value of the Group and to continue to be a reliable and interesting business partner for owners and investors in the future. Financial stability is supported by the balanced Group portfolio of liberalised and regulated business models. A further basis for success is the efficient management of risks and opportunities. It empowers the Group management to identify challenges at an early stage and to take effective measures in good time.
The Group takes a proactive approach to dynamic changes to the statutory framework, as well as market-based challenges stemming from changes in customer needs or competitors from outside the industry.
Without motivated and committed employees, strategic goals are unachievable. The employees working at Energie AG are the Group's most important resource. Energie AG prevails in the competition for talent by implementing a strategically coordinated recruiting process and succession management. The Group has also taken measures to further improve its reputation as a preferred employer.
The Group's successful apprenticeship programmes train the specialists needed by the Group's business segments and include measures in the area of diversity that send an important socio-political signal.