Energiekontor in the German press
Energiekontor, one of the leading German project developers in the wind energy branch and wind farm operators, and the company responsible for the RBE – Rotor Blade Extension project, have celebrated their 25th anniversary in their hometown, Bremen. Because of Energiekontor’s achievements in the wind industry during this past 25 years, the German press has dedicated some articles to the company, namely Nordsee-Zeitung and Sonntagsjournal. You can read the articles translated in English bellow:
29 August 2015 – Nordsee-Zeitung – Turning the big wheel
Form the two-person office to the Europe-wide acting company: Energiekontor, a pioneer in wind power, celebrate their anniversary
By INGA HANSEN
FLÖGELN. The future is at Flögelner Stüh. Six windmills, 186 meters high each. Turning like world champions. Now, the farm operator, the company from Bremen, Energiekontor, have celebrated their 25th anniversary against this background. And not without reason: the branch pioneer was practically born here, between Flögeln and Neuenwalde.
It was 1990 when the Flögeln-born Dr. Bodo Wilkens called is former school friend Günter Lammers from Neuenwalde. Bonn had just passed the power supply law and Wilkens, an industrial engineer, sensed that a new market was emerging. “Initially we just wanted to build a 100 kilowatt plant behind the dyke”, the chairman of Energiekontor’s supervisory board says. Today there are 550 windmills turning in Europe, which have been set up by the company and represent an investment of 1.2 billion euro.
Within a few years, the two-person office turned into a company. Lammers gave up the whole food shop he owned in Bederkesa, Wilkens did the same with his job in Frankfurt. In 1994, Energiekontor built their first wind farm. Ten small windmills near the coast, in Misselwarden. “It was basically the administrative district that kick-started everything”, Lammers remembers, “they did not want single windmills standing around, but rather closed parks”.
Well over 100 objections
This continues to be the case today. And is the reason for new and intense debates. According to the regional planning, it is up to the district to determine how much wind power is possible in Cuxland. In July, they drew up the new regional planning programme and until August 20th the citizens and representatives of public concerns could raise their objections. As reported by the department head, Günter Jochimsen, the citizens expressed well over 100 objections, to which we must add doubts from municipalities, associations and other representatives of public concerns. For now, the district does not want to reveal the overall total. Jochimsen refers to the next press conference to be held by the district on September 10th.
In the meantime, this is the third version of the programme unveiled by the district. The first was overturned by a complaint from wind farm operators, which came away empty-handed in the definition of the areas. For three years now, the courthouse has been working on the regulations, which determine where a wind farm can and cannot be built. It is a difficult balancing act: on the one hand, we have the investors like Energiekontor, the farmers, who can lease their lands for a good amount, and the mayors, who count on the business taxes, which the farms pay into their empty cash boxes, on the other hand, we have the citizens, who, considering the growing “transformation of the landscape into asparagus”, as they call it, fear for the landscape image and the value of their houses.
Like other wind power project planners, Energiekontor are also waiting for the district to finally set the scene for further development. But the company is lucky. It was given the green light for new farms in Lintig-Meckelstedt and Uthlede, which are already connected to the network, as well as for Appeln and Lunestedt, which should be finished by year-end. And here in Flögeln, where Energiekontor have entered last year and replaced the small 500 kilowatt plants with new 3 megawatt giants, everything went smoothly. “We cannot complain”, deputy-chairman of the board Günter Eschen says. However, in Cuxland it takes comparatively longer to get the building permits for the farms, namely over two years, he says. “In other places, we can do it in seven to nine months.”
Energiekontor would gladly also replace the old windmills with high and more powerful ones in other locations. But the district’s regional planning imposes very strict constraints on the repowering, as the further development of the wind farms is called in technical terms. Farms like the one in Misselwarden, for example, cannot grow in height due to the proximity to the Wadden Sea. Therefore, the municipality Wurster Nordseeküste is amongst those which raised objections to the regional planning. Jochimsen, the district department head says that the courthouse will now discuss all objections intensively. For him it is clear: “We will not be able to approve the regional planning in the district until the end of this year.” Günter Lammers accepts this calmly. “The district has great potential when it comes to wind power. Much will happen in the coming years”, he is sure.
25 years of Energiekontor
1990: Günter Lammers and Dr. Bodo Wilkens start the company Energiekontor in Bremerhaven, after the Federal Government passed the power supply law, which compels power supply companies to accept and pay for power from renewable energy sources.
1994: The company build their first wind farm in Misselwarden – ten 60-meter high plants, which produce 500 kilowatt power each. The second farm is implemented by the Grauwallkanal in Wremen.
1995: Energiekontor dare to venture abroad. They establish subsidiaries in Portugal and Greece.
2000: The federation draws up the first version of the renewable energy law (Erneruerbare-Energien-Gesetz – EEG), which guarantees fixed compensation rates for the power from wind, water and solar energy. In May, Energiekontor are listed on the stock exchange. The objective is to raise enough capital for wind farm projects. Subsidiaries are also established in Great Britain and Spain.
2002: The company, in the meantime with main office in Bremen, buy back the wind farm in Debstedt from the limited partners, in order to operate it themselves. Energiekontor do not want to continue to just develop wind farms, they want to operate them as well, in order to become financially more independent from the market.
2004: The company plan the first offshore projects with Nordergründe and Borkum-Riffgrund.
2010: Energiekontor plan to focus harder on their own farms. The 100-megawatt power from their own farms are to be increased to 500 megawatt. Besides, the company enter the solar energy field with the solar roof in the Bremerhavener Innovations- und Gründerzentrum (BRIG).
2015: The company have built 95 wind farms with about 550 plants and a total power of 760 megawatt, which makes them one of the leading project developers in Europe. 31 of these farms are operated by the company. They have invested 1.2 billion euro since the establishment, have a total of 180 co-workers and reach an annual turnover of 160 million euro.
20 September 2015 – Sonntagsjournal – Cuxland as a windy cradle
Energiekontor have their Roots in the District – The Company focus on Repowering
By HAGEN HAASTERT
DISTRICT CUXHAVEN. Energiekontor AG from Bremen – who, by their own account, are nowadays one of the leading German project developers in the wind energy branch and wind farm operators – was started in Bremerhaven in 1990. Since then the company have been significantly involved in wind farm planning, construction and management also in the district of Cuxhaven.
“Cuxland is the cradle of the company and one of our stronger regions”, Energiekontor’s spokesman, Dr. Stefan Eckhoff, says at the time of the 25th company jubilee.
Energiekontor have built their first wind farm in 1994 in Misselwarden, Eckhoff explains and provides a general picture of the other projects in Cuxland. Until today the company have concluded 13 farms in Cuxland with a total rated power of 225 megawatt (MW). Their locations are Misselwarden, Wremen, Spieka-Neufeld, Nordleda, Holßel, Krempel, Sievern, Debstedt, Osterende, Stotel, Wittgeste, Flögeln-Stüh and Uthlede. Two others in Lunestedt and Appeln (total rated power of 50 MW), should be concluded by year-end.
Six farms as company-own operations
Nine farms have been sold. Energiekontor operate the remaining six (Nordleda, Krempel, Sievern, Flögeln-Stüh, Osterende and Debstedt) as company-own operations, partially or totally by themselves, and sell the power to power suppliers. Besides, two farms (20 MW) are still in the approval stage. Eckhoff does not want to reveal their location for now.
For the construction of new projects, Energiekontor are urgently waiting for the new regional planning program (Regionales Raumordnungsprogramm – RROP), the chairmen of the board Peter Szabo and Günter Eschen say. “In our perspective, the time delay is unfortunate.” It takes over two years until the building license anyway. But they do not want to complain, because until now no project has been rejected. Thus, the six small 500 kilowatt wind power plants in the wind farm in Flögeln could be replaced by 158-meter high 3 megawatt mills and, consequently, the power was considerably increased. “The Flögeln-Stüh farm is considered one of the model projects in the repowering field,” Eckhoff says. According to the board, the other farms are also to be repowered in the next few years, assuming they will be approved, which again depends on criteria such as preferential sites, as well as nature and environment protection. The repowering could mean a tenfold power increase. But the district administration has strict regulations.
Until now the company have had “no problems, but rather luck” concerning the negative impact on nature, the environment and human beings. “We abide by the law and inform the residents before the planning,” Eschen says.
Improvements in the disturbing factors
In the meantime, there are improvements in disturbing factors such as noise, shade and blinding effect (temporary stoppage of the rotors, coating of the rotor blades and distance control), which are defined in the planning.
Energiekontor have distanced themselves from projects in the offshore field and sold three planned plants already in the approval stage. “The planning is too time-consuming, risky and cost-intensive for midsized companies,” Szabo says.
Some years ago, Energiekontor have expanded their central business with the field of solar energy and according to Eckhoff, among other things, have built an open land plant in Debstedt (1.4 MW) in 2011. Until now it is the only solar power plant built by Energiekontor in the district of Cuxhaven.
“The Flögeln-Stüh farm is considered one of the model projects in the repowering field.” – Dr. Stefan Eckhoff, Energiekontor.