S.hey, they are specialists who make sure that the lights in Offenbach are not turned off 24/7. Fortunately, this has only happened once: during the “big blackout” from March 31 to April 1, 1998, when a combined heat and power plant failure hit the headlines. Otherwise, the Energieversorgung Offenbach AG, or EVO for short, has generally reliably lived up to the trust it has placed in it over its 175-year history, which began with the founding of the gas company in 1847.
Nothing will change about this in the future, said CEO Christoph Meier at a ceremony held on Friday at the old locksmith shop on the EVO campus that has long become a cultural center. The boss confirmed that the exit from coal should be completed by 2029. Not least because the company wants to be completely climate neutral by 2040.
“According to our research, we are the first energy supplier in Hesse to pursue such a specific climate policy goal,” said Meier. This requires “huge investments”. After all, it is important to increase the share of wind and solar energy, increase the use of waste heat, rely even more on wood pellets and support the transition to e-mobility with electric charging stations.
EUR 250 million has already been invested
The minister responsible for the economy, energy, transport and housing in Hesse, Tarek Al-Wazir (Die Grünen), was pleased with the ambitious goals of the company, which has a good 800 employees and hopes to be in the black. “Green ideas” in the future. The transition to a climate-friendly economy is “a huge task”.
According to their own information, energy suppliers from Offenbach have already invested EUR 250 million in sustainable projects in recent years: for example in the construction of a total of four wind farms in Hunsrück, Rheinhessen, Nordhessen and Vogelsberg, but also in their construction. Own pellet plant and two solar PV systems at former landfills near Gelnhausen-Hailer and Schlüchtern-Hohenzell in the Main-Kinzig district.
As “part of the MVV family,” EVO has always done pioneering work, said Hansjörg Roll as member of the board of majority owner MVV Energie of Mannheim, which now owns 50.1 percent as a partner of Stadtwerke Offenbach Holding GmbH. “I support this climate policy course,” said Roll, “MVV will do its part to create the conditions for the necessary investment program.”
In the city and district of Offenbach, half a million people will soon be supplied with electricity via EVO; half of them currently use “clean electricity” from renewable energy sources. In addition, there are the supply of gas, water and district heating to customers, as well as waste incineration and a dynamically developing business with data centers, which will later act as heat suppliers. As a result, the well-positioned EVO Group – i.e. including the network operator – achieved sales of over EUR 400 million in 2021. In this way, it was able to distribute a dividend of nine million euros to each of the two main shareholders. With an added value of € 100 million per year, the region benefited from EVO.
Not surprisingly, Mayor Felix Schwenke (SPD) and County Governor Oliver Quilling (CDU) only spoke positively about the anniversary. After all, EVO, whose company history is full of technical innovations, started transforming the energy system 20 years ago – at a time when climate protection was still an alien concept for many.