Learning by doing: Minister helps out during the production of large-scale drives for wind turbines
Minister Habeck: “For the energy transition, we need value creation like at Flender.”
The energy transition will not succeed without industry. This is how the visit of Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection Dr. Robert Habeck to the Flender site in Voerde on Thursday could be summed up. Flender is the only manufacturer remaining on the market that produces drive systems for wind turbines in Germany, and equips every third turbine worldwide with one of its drive components. This decisive role in the transformation of the global energy supply was the reason for the Minister to accept the invitation at the Hannover Messe to visit Voerde.
Habeck becomes a Flender expert
Minister Habeck was impressed by the technology and the dimensions of the gearbox production in Voerde. On average, three to four wind gearboxes leave the plant every day bound for the onshore and offshore wind farms. In the case of the offshore giants, the gearboxes from Voerde currently reach power classes of up to ten megawatts, are several meters high and weigh up to one hundred tons. “I’m learning a lot here. These technologies are the prerequisite to reach our energy transition targets and they are a masterpiece of engineering,” says Habeck.
During the tour of the plant, Flender employees not only showed the minister the production steps, they also let the politician lend a hand. Habeck used a crane to insert the central planetary carrier into the gearbox, grabbed a huge wrench, started the final test run of two offshore giants, and finally brought a tested gearbox on its way to the field with a final quality control tag – including a spontaneous, personal greeting.
Energy transition needs industry and vice versa
The focus was on wind energy, but Flender CEO Andreas Evertz felt it was important to give the minister and his team another message to take with them: without industrial production and raw material extraction, there is no energy transition. Wind turbines need cement for the foundations, steel for the towers, composite materials for the rotor blades. These need to be extracted and produced by traditional industries. “This is the second part of our business. You can find Flender everywhere. With our gearboxes for all industrial sectors, we ensure that they continue to provide the basic materials for our daily lives. Above all, our innovations ensure that they can do this in an increasingly energy-efficient way,” said Evertz. Habeck was able to see this for himself when he climbed the stairs of the assembly platform of a gearbox for a cement mill. At a height of several meters, Flender assemblers use a crane to insert the gears into the 120-ton gearbox.
As the minister and Evertz sat down for the final photo in a large 10-megawatt wind gearbox, Habeck said, “To reach our targets in the energy transition, we need value creation in our own country, and we need to involve existing companies like Flender. I very much hope that the measures we have put in place for the rapid expansion of wind power will keep a lot of value creation here.”
Evertz is hoping for further support from politicians to strengthen Germany as a business location. “Energy prices are not allowing us to operate competitively in the global environment. This is a major threat to our industry,” the Flender CEO said.
New waterfront site needed
For the ever-growing offshore drives, the expected market growth also brings new challenges. These will soon no longer be able to be transported by road, so Flender is on the lookout for a manufacturing site on the water to be able to supply offshore wind farms by ship. “I hope that we will find a good solution in a timely manner,” says Flender CEO Evertz. Then Minister Habeck could send out even more and larger drive trains made in Germany with his signature.
Vice President Corporate Development & Communications
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Tobias van der Linde
Manager Corporate Communications
Phone: +49 174 2415434
E-mail: [email protected]