E.ON in the Benelux countries
We’re engaged in power generation and wholesale and retail power marketing in the Benelux countries. We have a total of 2.7 GW of fossil-fueled generating capacity in the Netherlands and Belgium, slightly more than half of which is coal and the remainder gas. Several of our power stations cogenerate heat, which improves their fuel efficiency and climate performance. Our coal-fired power stations cofire up to 10 percent carbon-neutral biomass whenever sufficient quantities of biomass are available. Our power marketing business in the Benelux countries has grown significantly in the last two years, particularly in the retail and small and medium-sized enterprise segments.
We’re adding to our generating capacity in the region by building a state-of-the-art 1.1 GW coal-fired unit at Maasvlakte power station in Rotterdam. Scheduled to enter service in 2013, the new unit will be 20 percent more fuel-efficient and emit 1.2 million metric tons less carbon dioxide annually than a typical coal-fired unit. It will also cofire up to 30 percent biomass and cogenerate heat for nearby industrial enterprises, further enhancing its climate performance.
|Installed capacity||2.7 GW|
|Power sales||14.4 TWh|
|Gas sales||8.4 TWh|
Our Sustainability Effort in the Benelux Countries
We coordinate our sustainability activities – corporate responsibility, employee involvement, safety, and health – through the Human Resources department of Rotterdam-based E.ON Benelux, the parent company for our operations in the region. Environmental and climate issues are managed by subject experts in a variety of departments. The role of, and the challenge for, all our sustainability managers and experts is to work closely with managers from other areas to ensure that sustainability is factored into all business decisions and embedded in all aspects of our operations.
Safety is always our top priority. Not only because we have a responsibility to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for our employees. But also because a thoroughly safe power station is almost always an operationally excellent power station. As part of our commitment to continually improve safety awareness, we communicate information about accidents, near misses, and dangerous situations to all our employees on a monthly basis. Our commitment has paid off. Through the end of 2012, we had 6.08 million accident-free work hours at the construction site of our new cleaner-coal unit. Across all our Benelux operations we only had two lost-time accidents in 2012.
We also promote health and safety in our communities, which in the Netherlands are crisscrossed by rivers, streams, and canals. With so much water, it’s hardly surprising that swimming is popular and widely practiced. But so much water also makes swimming a safety issue. Consequently, most children learn to swim at an early age, usually at four or five. To promote swimming as a healthy lifelong activity, an important safety skill, and a competitive sport, we sponsor the Royal Dutch Swim Federation and the National Swim Institute of Amsterdam. Our other community-involvement programs include support for selected cultural events near our power stations and offices.
Enhancing Stakeholder Relations
The Benelux power market is complex, keenly competitive, and heavily influenced by policymakers and public opinion. Because we generate most of our power in the region from coal, open dialog and good stakeholder relations are essential to our success. This applies not only to the new cleaner-coal unit we’re building at Maasvlakte, but also to our coal and biomass sourcing policies. We use a range of forums and media to engage stakeholders in dialogs on climate issues, responsible procurement, and the transition to tomorrow’s energy world. These include the visitor center at Maasvlakte, information events, and energy debates conducted through a nationwide financial newspaper. Since the sustainability debate affects our entire industry, we sometimes engage in this debate in partnerships with other energy companies.
Promoting Public Debate about Energy
Energy is an important issue. And it deserves a prominent forum in which leading experts can discuss the pros and cons of various energy strategies. To create such a forum, in 2011 we entered into a partnership with Het Financieele Dagblad (FD), the Netherlands’ leading daily financial newspaper. The result is “FD Energiedebat,” a series of public debates about the transition to a low-carbon future. So far, six debates have been held at locations around the country. Each debate has focused on a different aspect of the transition, from the role of the energy industry to how geopolitical developments are impacting Europe’s energy market. The public response has been positive, and more FD debates are planned for 2013.
Communicating in a Changing Energy World
The world of energy is changing. Fundamentally and fast. Energy production used to be almost exclusively big, centralized, and fossil. Increasingly, it’s small, decentralized, and renewable. As the energy industry changes, so too must energy companies. And their communications. To help us explore how we might become more effective – both in how we communicate and how we think about new energy solutions – in early 2012 we entered into a partnership with Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE), one of the world’s most respected design schools. Teams of DAE graduate students were tasked with developing for E.ON Benelux ideas on new energy solutions and communications geared toward a decentralized, low-carbon energy world. The students presented their proposals in July 2012. The DAE’s graduate-school magazine, SOURCE, will publish a special energy issue in 2013. The partnership has been a success for DAE and for E.ON: it gave students the opportunity to work on an important real-world issue and us the opportunity to benefit from their creativity.
Raising Energy Awareness
As an energy producer and supplier, we want our customers to know where their energy comes from, to appreciate its value, and to use it wisely so that they can reduce their energy bills and their impact on the environment. That’s why we supported the development of “De Bosatlas van de energie,” a new, 136-page energy atlas released in November 2012 by Noordhoff Uitgevers, the Netherlands’ leading atlas publisher. Illustrated with striking aerial images from renowned Dutch photographer Karel Tomeï, the atlas makes a complex topic accessible to a broad audience. It also contains a section that allows readers to choose their own ideal energy mix based on the pros and cons of each energy source.