The past fiscal year was characterised by an unprecedented level of volatility on the energy markets. Market prices for electricity and gas saw dramatic rises within just a few months, a fact made all the more remarkable given that they were already at all-time highs. The turbulence being experienced on the market is due to the widening gap between the shorter supply of primary energy sources and the growing demand in the economy for these. Concerns about potential shortages also had the effect of driving up prices. As one of Austria's largest energy utility companies, we feel a particular sense of duty under these conditions to keep expanding our already well-developed stakeholder management concept and, in doing so, living up to our role as a responsible employer, a reliable partner for suppliers and customers and an enabler in efforts to achieve sustainable future for energy. The aim of this non-financial report is to give you an insight into the work of Energie AG Oberösterreich from the perspective of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals and the corporate principles based on these.
Energie AG Oberösterreich has always had ensuring security of supply and a high supply quality for our customers as its top priority. Maintaining a reliable supply has become an even greater task as a result of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and the impact it has had. In light of this, we have done everything we can to establish a range of measures aimed at safeguarding security of supply. Such measures included securing gas supplies, filling our storage facilities as much as possible and activating power plants as part of our congestion management strategy and meant that we were able to continue supplying energy to our electricity and gas customers without restriction. The current situation lays bare to us the importance of expanding the grid infrastructure and the use of renewable energies at an even faster pace to improve our energy independence. The long-term focus on a green energy future is reflected in the capital expenditure of Energie AG Oberösterreich recognised by the EU taxonomy. This is the case for 84% of all capital expenditure, a very high percentage that is to be increased further still. What this also does is underscore the highly ambitious strategic generation goals of Energie AG Oberösterreich, according to which the company aims to produce regional green electricity for 180,000 additional households by 2030. We will also invest over EUR 1.0 billion in expanding the grid infrastructure to enable the energy transition during the same period of time.
Inflation, which was strongly driven by energy prices, increasingly evolved into a major burden for the general population in the past fiscal year. Despite the prevailing conditions on the market, Energie AG Oberösterreich was able to maintain the price guarantee promise made in October 2021 until 1 January 2023. This approach has enabled us to proactively procure energy at even lower market prices, keeping risk to a minimum. By doubling the funding for the energy solidarity budget, expanding advisory services and promoting energy efficiency measures, we want to fulfil our obligation vis-à-vis society and, above all, actively support customers who are particularly affected in their efforts to save energy and costs.
We firmly believe that the current environment requires an even greater degree of active and transparent communication and interaction with customers, which is why the corresponding sales activities, such as the customer forum to involve customers in product design, have been further promoted. The Group has long seen conducting a dialogue with stakeholders as a valuable strategic instrument to strengthen long-term collaboration with key partners. By way of example, the 100th meeting of the Environmental Commission, a successful citizen participation model established more than three decades ago, was held a few months ago. This commission ensures residents served by the waste incineration plant in Wels are regularly informed about the plant's current developments and its compliance with emission limits. Over the years, this process has helped foster a sense of mutual understanding and trust, and there is now a very constructive dialogue on further development and improvements, for example when it comes to minimising noise and odour emissions.
The Energie AG Group acknowledges that the Group’s success depends on the commitment of its employees and therefore seeks to solidify its reputation as an attractive employer on an ongoing basis and to offer a work environment that not only offers interesting development opportunities, but also accommodates the individual needs of its employees. It is against this backdrop that a large number of HR measures have been implemented in recent years aimed at improving employee work-life balance, providing training and further development opportunities, and offering flexible working hours. We are therefore proud to have been named Austria's best employer in the recognised cross-industry trend ranking in 2022, in which Energie AG Oberösterreich was particularly notable as an employer focused squarely on the future. Being recognised in this way encourages us to continue our human resources policy and makes us confident that we will be able to meet the upcoming business challenges as a responsible employer despite the general shortage of skilled workers.
Energie AG consistently seeks to put environmental, social and public welfare issues at the forefront of our agenda. We hope that this report on non-financial information can provide a good overview and look forward to working together with you as we continue to pursue a sustainable development.
The Management Board of Energie AG Oberösterreich
Chief Executive Officer
DDr. Werner Steinecker MBA
Chairman of the Management Board
Dr. Andreas Kolar
Member of the Management Board
Dipl.-Ing. Stefan Stallinger MBA
Member of the Management Board