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Power to the people

Portrait

“At VSB Group, we have a longterm vision,” states Andreas Dorner, Managing Director of VSB Holding GmbH, who founded the company 20 years ago. Like for many of VSB’s staff, there is a personal aspect to the job – he sees his company’s work in the context of his holistic worldview and a sustainable lifestyle. “Our core competence, or core field of activity, is the changeover of the energy market, and that requires more than just a few years.”

VSB is a full service provider, independently developing both photovoltaic and wind energy projects. The company also offers technical and commercial management and maintenance services for renewable power plants.

“In Saxony-Anhalt, we have implemented a largescale photovoltaic system on top of a landfill, and in Saxony we have realized the wind farm Wölkisch, which is considered a best practice in terms of environmental planning and local participation,” says Mr. Dorner naming two German examples of VSB’s work. “I am proud to say that our projects meet all quality standards, built with a focus on high yield, but also in compliance with the concerns of nature and local residents. Careful planning in close consultation with communities and authorities are key factors to this.”

In 2001, VSB founded its first affiliated company in France, VSB Énergies Nouvelles, followed by Poland, Italy and Finland. “Today, we are present at 13 locations across Europe as well as in North Africa,” Mr. Dorner elaborates. “Investing 1.3 billion EUR in total, we have contributed to bringing around 1,300 MW to the grid, which includes services for third parties. As a result, our projects supply electricity to more than one million people every year.”

A common misconception concerning renewable energies is its cost. “People think of renewables as more expensive than conventional energy, or that energy supply fails upon sunset, but that is obviously not the case,” the engineer states. “In fact, renewables are already cheaper than conventional energy if you take into account all externalities. However, there is still work to be done in the field of security of supply. Hence, innovative infrastructure, like smart grids and storage solutions, but also new business models need to be developed. As a part of that endeavour, we are building VSB’s first battery storage device connected with a wind farm.”

As the Managing Director explains, there is no reason to fear gaps in the power supply due to unfavourable weather conditions: “We are talking about Europe,” he says. “The exchange of energy through a network across the countries already works very well in some larger regions. But of course, this is also a matter of politics. In sumary, we can state that Germany has a vanguard position in turbine technology and encouraging the Energiewende. This is a role model to others who might follow.”

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