SFS wants to produce more climate-neutral electricity and plans to install a wind turbine
Media release – May 19, 2022
As a contribution to climate protection, regional energy security and the achievement of national energy policy goals, SFS plans to increase the share of self-generated electricity. To this end, a wind turbine will be built to complement the existing large-scale photovoltaic system on the company’s premises. This is expected to produce 5 GWh of electricity per year, equivalent to the consumption of around 1,300 households.
The site in Heerbrugg is not only the SFS Group’s largest production plant, but also one of the largest industrial production facilities in Switzerland. Although SFS relies on a very efficient production process with its cold solid forming, its production activities require a large amount of energy, mainly in the form of electricity. As a member of the UN Global Compact, SFS is committed to the Paris Agreement’s net zero targets. The aim is to reduce the company’s own CO2 emissions by more than 90% by 2030. This goal is to be achieved by increasing efficiency and reducing consumption, but also by using self-generated electricity. SFS already uses climate-neutral electricity exclusively at all its Swiss production sites and in Heerbrugg has one of the largest photovoltaic installations in Eastern Switzerland. Although all suitable building roofs are used for this purpose, solar energy is only able to cover around 10% of the electricity requirements of the SFS production facilities in Switzerland.
Important contribution to the Federal Government’s Energy Strategy 2050
This proportion can be significantly increased with the operation of a wind turbine. In this way, SFS is contributing to the implementation of the Federal Government’s Energy Strategy 2050 and regional energy security. To achieve the climate targets and secure the energy supply, it primarily relies on the expansion of renewable energies. The company’s own production of renewable electricity is a key element in SFS’s sustainability efforts. “We want to live up to our responsibility to the environment and society and set an example. This involves more than just purchasing green electricity,” says Jens Breu, CEO of the SFS Group. The greater security of supply will make the location, which is currently being substantially expanded, more attractive, and thus also increase the attractiveness of jobs in the long term.
Extensive clarifications with a promising result
SFS has carried out extensive preliminary clarifications with regard to technical feasibility, cost-effectiveness and housing compatibility. Both the wind conditions and the location in the industrial area make the site in Heerbrugg ideal for the operation of a wind turbine. The expected annual energy yield is around 5 GWh, which is equivalent to the consumption of around 1,300 households. Thanks to the sound-optimized operating mode and the use of a shadow casting module with automatic shut-off, any effects on the environment can be minimized and the corresponding specifications can be complied with without any problems. The technical assessment of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) and in-depth clarifications on the part of various federal and cantonal authorities also went well. Complex wind measurements are being carried out in parallel to the approval process. A temporary measuring tower will be set up at the planned location for this purpose.
Implementing a forward-looking project in dialog
Another important environmental advantage is that the infrastructure for setting up the plant and feeding the electricity produced is already in place at the planned location. “Whether from an ecological, technical or long-term economic perspective, the project makes sense”, says Volker Dostmann, CFO of the SFS Group. As a next step, the issue will be handed over to the responsible local authorities for assessment and dialog will be sought with the local population and environmental associations. SFS employees will be given the opportunity to find out more about the project as part of the internal sustainability day on June 24, 2022. SFS is confident that it will be able to implement the project and thus support national efforts in the area of sustainability and security of supply.
Au Municipal Council supports the project
The Au Municipal Council fully supports this forward-looking project. “It is precisely in times of an energy revolution when the energy markets are volatile and a shortage of electricity is in the offing that it is important for us to use existing energy sources such as wind power. I am convinced that our society will no longer be able to do without new ways of supplying energy in the future,” says Christian Sepin, Mayor of Au.