They are the specialists who make sure that the lights don't go out in Offenbach around the clock.

Luckily this has only happened once so far: During the "big blackout" from March 31 to April 1, 1998, when a malfunction in the thermal power station made the headlines.

Otherwise, Energieversorgung Offenbach AG, known as EVO for short, has generally reliably fulfilled the trust placed in it in its 175-year history, which began with the founding of a gas company in 1847.

Markus Schug

Correspondent Rhein-Main-Süd.

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Nothing will change about that in the future, promised CEO Christoph Meier at the ceremony, which took place on Friday in the old locksmith shop on the EVO campus, which has long since become a cultural center.

The boss confirmed that the exit from coal should be completed by 2029.

Not least because the company wants to be completely climate-neutral by 2040.

"According to our research, we are the first energy supplier in Hesse to pursue such a specific climate policy goal," said Meier.

"Huge investments" are necessary for this.

After all, it is important to increase the proportion of wind power and solar systems, increase the use of waste heat, rely even more heavily on wood pellets and support the switch to e-mobility with electric charging stations.

250 million euros already invested

The minister responsible for economics, energy, transport and housing in Hesse, Tarek Al-Wazir (Die Grünen), was pleased about the ambitious goals of the company, which has a good 800 employees, and which he hopes will be in the black with “green ideas” in the future .

The transition to a climate-friendly economy is an “enormous task”.

According to their own information, the Offenbach energy suppliers have already invested 250 million euros in sustainable projects in recent years: for example in the construction of a total of four wind farms in the Hunsrück, in Rheinhessen, Nordhessen and Vogelsberg, but also in their own pellet plant and in two photovoltaic systems on former landfill sites near Gelnhausen-Hailer and Schlüchtern-Hohenzell in the Main-Kinzig district.

As a "part of the MVV family", EVO has always done pioneering work, said Hansjörg Roll as a member of the board of the majority owner MVV Energie from Mannheim, which currently holds 50.1 percent of the shares as a partner of Stadtwerke Offenbach Holding GmbH.

"I support this climate policy course," said Roll: "MVV will do its part to create the conditions for the necessary investment program."

In the city and district of Offenbach, half a million people will soon be supplied with electricity by the EVO;

half of them are now using “clean electricity” from renewable energy sources.

In addition, there are gas, water and district heating deliveries to customers as well as waste incineration and the currently booming business with data centers, which will later serve as district heating suppliers.

With all of this, the solidly positioned EVO Group – i.e. including the network operator – achieved sales of more than 400 million euros in 2021.

It was thus able to transfer a dividend of nine million euros to each of the two main shareholders.

With added value of 100 million euros a year, the region benefited from EVO.

So it's no wonder that Mayor Felix Schwenke (SPD) and District Administrator Oliver Quilling (CDU) only spoke positively about the jubilee.

After all, EVO, whose company history is full of technical innovations, began transforming the energy system 20 years ago - i.e. at a time when climate protection was still a foreign concept for many others.