MVV calls for quantum leap in expanding green energies
Mannheim-based energy company MVV asserts itself even in unsettled times and proves robust in a difficult market climate – CEO Dr. Georg Müller: “Germany has to move on, away from short-term countermeasures and towards proactive steps enabling us to meet our climate targets.”
“MVV is robust even in unsettled times. With our #climatepositive strategy, we have the right compass and are building on business fields that are complementary and reinforce one another”, explained Dr. Georg Müller, Chief Executive Officer of MVV Energie AG, at the energy company’s Annual General Meeting on Friday. After two years’ break due to the pandemic, this year’s meeting was again held in person at the traditional venue at Mannheim’s Rosengarten Congress Center. Although 2022 had placed great demands on MVV, the company had proven itself up to the challenge, confirmed MVV’s CEO right at the start of the event. This was demonstrated by the stable financial key figures reported for the 2022 financial year, a period marked by a difficult market climate.
“Having said that, robust does not just mean staying on course from an economic point of view. Our robustness is rooted just as strongly in our sustainability strategy, with which we are advancing the energy transition at MVV in an entrepreneurial spirit”, added the CEO. The net zero certification received from the Science Based Targets Initiative, in short SBTi, had added further momentum into the energy company’s #climatepositive path, with which MVV aims to become climate neutral by 2040 at the latest and #climatepositive from then on. Dr. Müller: “We intend to achieve this CO2 reduction with our own resources, i.e. with new technologies, innovations and green products, rather than by drawing on offsetting certificates or offsetting projects. That is why we are consistently investing in the company’s future capacity, and thus in genuine climate protection.”
Ongoing high volume of investment in the energy transition
MVV is therefore maintaining a high pace of investment. Between 2016 and 2026, the energy company will invest a total of Euro 3 billion in sustainable growth. In the first six years of this period, it already invested nearly Euro 1.8 billion. The heat transition, one of the three aspects of MVV’s Mannheim Model alongside the electricity transition and green customer solutions, is a key focus of investment. Investments here are being channelled above all into activities in Mannheim and the region, such as building MVV’s first river heat pump or converting the biomass power plant to use waste heat. Moreover, the company is adapting its grids to the new energy world and extending its district heat grids at all locations. This way, it aims to make as widespread use as possible of the potential harboured by green heat.
MVV is further expanding its own renewables-based generation while also developing wind and solar projects for third parties. In the 223-megawatt Pike Solar project in the US State of Colorado, MVV’s Juwi subsidiary is currently implementing the largest solar park in its history. Operations here are due to be launched by the end of 2023. To this end, a total of 414,000 solar modules will be installed in the months ahead on an area of around 530 hectares. “That is about three times the size of downtown Mannheim”, added Dr. Müller to illustrate the scale. Moreover, MVV intends to increase its own renewables-based electricity generation capacity to more than 800 megawatts by 2026. Its capacity here already stood at 614 megawatts at the end of the 2022 financial year.
Dr. Müller: “Our investment projects show how consistently we are implementing our targets and that it actually is possible to become #climatepositive in strategic, technical and economic terms.” The same applied for the MVV Group’s other major locations in Kiel and Offenbach, which are pursuing climate neutrality strategies adapted to circumstances on location.
In view of the company’s earnings performance, the Executive and Supervisory Boards are proposing the distribution of an unchanged dividend of Euro 1.05 per share for approval by the Annual General Meeting. “We are therefore retaining last year’s dividend increase for the 2022 financial year as well”, comments MVV’s CEO. MVV’s share would then offer a dividend yield of 3.6 percent as of the balance sheet date and, this year as well, confirm its reputation as a stable capital investment with a competitive return.
Outlook for 2023 confirmed
“Despite continuing macroeconomic uncertainties and volatility on the energy and procurement markets, we posted a good start to the financial year”, commented the CEO in summarising MVV’s performance in the first quarter (1 October 2022 – 31 December 2022) of the 2023 financial year. The company had concluded this period with operative adjusted EBIT (excluding disposal gains) of Euro 145 million, and thus with significant earnings growth.
Dr. Müller: “For the 2023 financial year, we expect our adjusted EBIT from an operating perspective, i.e. excluding disposal gains, to at least match the previous year’s level. Depending on the macroeconomic situation, further developments in regulatory requirements and the wholesale energy markets, however, we also see opportunities to exceed the previous year’s adjusted EBIT.”
Call for specific energy policy decisions for the future
“In 2022, Germany acted with great resolve to address the challenges and make the crisis manageable. The Federal Government has to maintain this determination in 2023 as well and take decisive action to press ahead with converting to climate neutrality”, remarked Dr. Müller. The country’s energy policy for the future required the right framework and fresh momentum.
Germany basically needed to inject more speed into the whole process of the energy transition and to focus more on solutions rather than problems. In expanding renewable energies, a “quantum leap” would even be necessary if the volume of gross capacity newly added each year was to be tripled for onshore wind turbines and quadrupled for solar power by 2030. To enable the renewable energies expansion to advance this rapidly, the windfall tax on electricity revenues would have to remain temporary. “As a sign of solidarity, the windfall tax shows that the energy industry is helping to ease the burden on households. If we wish to ensure that the long-term trust of investors, and thus the capacity to invest in the energy transition, does not suffer, however, a crisis management instrument of this kind has to be provided with a clear expiry date”, added MVV’s CEO.
Furthermore, Germany required forward-looking regulation for its electricity and gas distribution grids, as this was a system with mutual dependencies. Heat grids would also have to be accounted for. In future, it had to be possible to draw on all available sources of potential heat. “Delineating the various technologies too narrowly would reduce the opportunities on location”, pointed out Dr. Müller. Political decisions concerning the future heat supply should therefore always include due consideration of local circumstances.
All in all, Germany now had to move on from the short-term countermeasures introduced in recent months and return to proactive steps and the long-term decisions needed for the future. “Supply reliability and the energy transition have to go hand in hand, rather than coming at each other’s expense. 2023 has to be the year of action, one in which long-term decisions enabling the 1.5-degree target set in the Paris Agreement to be achieved take precedence again while short-term measures recede into the background”, demanded Dr. Müller in conclusion. With its #climatepositive course, MVV would therefore also be focusing even more closely on its future capacity. This way, it will make the MVV Group even more resilient and robust.