In-depth reports on "Cooperation and innovation"

“The positive feedback from energy suppliers following the launch of Repartner attests to the success of this model.” At the headquarters of Liechtensteinische Kraftwerke (LKW) in Schaan, Gerald Marxer, Chairman of the Executive Board of LKW and member of the Board of Directors of Repartner Produktions AG (left), confers with Samuel Enggist, Head of Market and Sales Switzerland at Repower and Managing Director of Repartner Produktions AG.

Equal partnership

In-depth report on “Cooperation and innovation” – part 2

The Repartner partnership model, to which eight energy suppliers besides Repower currently belong, provides electricity suppliers with long-term access to the European electricity market and to diversified generation capacity. Cooperation par excellence – and an illustration of how Repower acts as an interface between electricity suppliers and the international market.

The core competence and main task of energy supply companies is to provide their customers with round-the-clock electricity. To ensure they are able to meet this pledge, they need long-term, secure purchase rights or interests in power generating facilities, since they are not always able to procure electricity themselves on the international market or to develop their own generation facilities. This is where Repartner can help: through their share in the generation investment company, small and medium-sized electricity suppliers gain access to Repower's technologically and geographically diversified power generation and project portfolio, enabling them to plan their electricity supplies accurately and obtain them from sustainable sources .

This is the case, for instance, with Liechtensteinische Kraftwerke (LKW). With around 200 employees, the company is extremely short on proprietary generation: in other words, it can only cover a small proportion of consumer-side demand from its own facilities. This is a not insignificant disadvantage for the basic service provider in the Principality of Liechtenstein, particularly when energy exchange prices are high. From the outset, LKW targeted investments and partnerships with a view to reducing this disadvantage and optimise risks. In Repower the company found a partner that provided it with access to international generation capacities. As initial partner with the largest minority holding (10 per cent), LKW helped to shape the process for building up the investment company. Says Gerald Marxer, Chairman of the Executive Board of LKW and member of the Board of Directors of Repartner Produktions AG: “During the foundation phase Repower offered us the opportunity to engage in a highly constructive process to jointly develop an innovative idea. Even this early phase was marked by a spirit of give-and-take in the search for solutions from which all partners benefit.”

Gerald Marxer, Chairman of the Executive Board of LKW and member of the Board of Directors of Repartner Produktions AG:

“Repower's international project portfolio allows Liechtensteinische Kraftwerke to optimise risks and play a role in building up generation capacities at the most suitable locations for the various technologies.”

Change of scene: IBAarau AG supplies electricity, drinking water, natural gas and heating to more than 20 municipalities in the cantons of Aargau and Solothurn. Its workforce of more than 300 also work in the fields of transformer and engine servicing, electrical installations and telecommunications. “With the transformation of the energy market, partnerships in numerous areas have become an even more important success factor for IBAarau AG,” explains Dr Hans-Kaspar Scherrer, Chairman of the Executive Board. Therefore, in addition to its own activities with other utilities, the company sought a partner that could complement its expertise in the field of international and national electricity generation and electricity trading. One of the essential criteria for a potential partner for IBAarau was the willingness to engage in a fair and cooperative partnership with municipal utilities and regional electricity utilities. Repower met this criterion and responded to the needs of IBAarau: the Aargau utility was also a founding partner of Repartner Produktions AG and now holds a share of seven per cent.

Dr Hans-Kaspar Scherrer, Chairman of the Executive Board of IBAarau AG:

“The interest in Repartner Produktions AG enables us to use a broad and diversified range of generation technologies and large-scale facilities which IBAarau could not access on its own.”

Wasserwerke Zug AG (WWZ) also played an active role in shaping the Repartner model from the outset. The utility has a staff of around 300 and offers services in the areas of water, electricity, natural gas and telecommunications in the canton of Zug and in parts of neighbouring cantons. With its seven per cent interest in Repartner Produktions AG, WWZ is aiming to increase its share of proprietary energy. “This will allow us to supplement short-term market procurement with long-term, reliable generation-based procurement at stable prices. In addition to access to Repower generation projects and professional project development, the partners are able to exploit synergies in operations and commercialisation,” explains Andreas Widmer, CEO of WWZ and member of the Board of Directors of Repartner Produktions AG.

Andreas Widmer, CEO of Wasserwerke Zug AG and member of the Board of Directors of Repartner Produktions AG:

“For small and medium-sized energy suppliers, the management and commercialisation of power generation as well as access to trading abroad represent a major challenge. But within this partnership we are able to safeguard our interests optimally and efficiently in every respect.”

However, in addition to its principal function as an energy purchasing instrument, Repartner has since its inception increasingly evolved to become a platform on which partners can exchange views on current market issues. For example, in the autumn of 2013 a works outing was organised to Leverkusen, at which Repartner shareholders were able to gain an in-depth insight into the planned combined-cycle gas turbine power plant. Says Samuel Enggist, Head of Market and Sales Switzerland at Repower and Managing Director of Repartner Produktions AG: “The regular Repartner information events offer participating companies the opportunity to engage in active networking and discuss the burning national and international energy issues.” This way, participants not only boost their competitiveness but also have the opportunity to advocate their interests on an equal footing with all partners.

Repartner Produktions AG

Founded around two years ago, Repartner Produktions AG (Repartner) has grown to become a successful generation investment company in a challenging environment. In addition to principal shareholder Repower and founding partners Liechtensteinische Kraftwerke (LKW), IBAarau and Wasserwerke Zug (WWZ), shareholders now include Energie Wasser Luzern (ewl), Kantonales Elektrizitätswerk Nidwalden (EWN), Aziende Industriali di Lugano (AIL), IBC Energie Wasser Chur and Rhiienergie with holdings of between one per cent (corresponding to 4 MW) and ten per cent. Repower's share of 59 per cent includes reserve shareholdings for additional partners. For Repower the advantage of the partner model is that, thanks to the participation of its partners, it can play a greater role in projects where the investment volume is pooled. Repartner's generation and project portfolio is ideally tailored to the needs of electricity utilities in terms of load and technologies, comprising as it does a balanced mix of hydro, wind and gas power, geographically distributed among Switzerland, Germany, Italy and France. When complete, the Repartner portfolio will have a capacity of around 400 megawatts, equivalent to an average annual generating volume of 1,800 gigawatt hours. Worth special mention in this context is the project for a combined-cycle gas turbine power plant in Leverkusen (see also article on pages 16 and 17), for which a stake of Repartner Produktions AG is currently under consideration.

The participating electricity utilities can use this portfolio to cover their requirements for base, medium and peak load energy as well as new renewable energies. In addition, they are regularly informed about the performance of the plants and receive project status updates. Repower acts as the interface between energy suppliers and the international market, with the partnership benefiting in particular from its trading expertise.