Mr Stark, what are the Corporate Plant Engineering department’s responsibilities?
Our team is responsible for the setting up and operation of all the ALPLA plants all over the world. Part of this extensive task includes supplying them with electricity.
What issues do you pay attention to in particular here?
The key thing is to keep our energy expenditure at a minimum. We guarantee this by optimising the production processes, using modern, energy-saving machinery and replacing conventional lighting with LED lighting. It is, of course, also a question of substituting electricity generated using fossil fuels such as oil and gas with electricity from renewable sources. There are regions in which this is easy to achieve, while it can be trickier in certain countries. Whatever the case, we always look for the best solution.
Where does ALPLA use photovoltaic systems?
Photovoltaic systems are currently in use in Austria and Germany. A system was most recently installed in Vlotho-Exter in 2018. In both of these countries, it is possible for the solar-generated electricity to be used directly at the plants. This is not the case everywhere. In Spain, for example, we are obliged to feed the solar electricity we generate into the grid, meaning it is not directly at the disposal of the plant there.
Which other renewable energy options does ALPLA exploit?
Wind power is another option available to us. We have a stake in a wind farm in Mexico, with which we are able to cover 60 per cent of the electricity needs of our plants there. Local partnerships of this kind are important as they make economic solutions possible.
Does ALPLA also use so-called green electricity?
Since the beginning of the year, ALPLA has been sourcing all of its electricity needs for its Vorarlberg sites from hydroelectric power. We are aware that there is increasing demand on the part of the customers for packaging which is produced using green electricity. But again, this is something that we are not able to implement so simply everywhere. In China, it is currently impossible to find a certified supplier.
By 2022, we will run all of our Austrian production plants using nothing but renewable energy.