Editorial - VGB PowerTech Journal 3/2020

We at VGB and PTS remain a reliable partner!

In the wake of the Corona pandemic, private and public life has been largely paralysed in Germany and almost all parts of Europe and the world in recent weeks. The economy is also being increasingly affected. Some companies in the automotive industry have temporarily stopped production. Other industrial companies in other sectors followed. Due to the restrictions in public life, the crisis has also spread deep into the service sector. Retailers, restaurants and hotels have closed. As a result, energy consumption in Germany and other European countries has decreased, in some cases significantly, and prices on the wholesale markets for energy have fallen significantly. Economic research institutes are now expecting the economy to shrink significantly in 2020. Even if the further progress of the pandemic can only be speculated on, the consequences will be serious and lasting. In all likelihood, the positive effects on pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions will not be sustainable, even though the German target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 % by 2020 compared to 1990 suddenly seems within reach. It is important to take into account that the energy industry is the only sector that has not only achieved, but exceeded, its targets set for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And that the industry is working hard and successfully to meet the expectations placed on it by politicians and society in terms of a sustainable and in future climate-neutral supply of electricity and heat.

The companies in the energy industry took appropriate measures at an early stage to ensure that supply would be fully maintained in the event of a pandemic. As a result, the Corona virus has so far had no impact on the energy and water supply in Germany and most European countries. The basis of many pandemic plans in the companies of the electricity and heat supply industry can be traced back to preparations that were already elaborated in 2006 by the then VGB Committee “Occupational Medicine, Environmental Medicine and Industrial Health Management” in the light of the SARS and bird flu epidemics of that time. These include, for example, the protection level and barrier concept. This example once again clearly shows the importance and the benefits of the joint work between the operators of power plants and energy plants carried out under the umbrella of the VGB.

In order to prevent the spread of the corona virus SARS-CoV-2 and to ensure the health and safety of our stakeholders, the crisis management team at VGB and PTS has also activated the pandemic plan and decided on extensive measures.

The advanced digitalisation at VGB and PTS enables us to work largely in the home office. Committee meetings take place as online conferences with an adapted agenda. We have implemented the corresponding tools and have had positive experiences throughout. All further work, e.g. on VGB-Standards and research projects will be continued. The operation and development of our databases will also continue. Our laboratory sites are still manned and are always able to fully meet the requirements placed on them. Due to time-shifted schedules and individual home-office agreements, it is possible to continue operation without any disturbances. We are reducing the risk of infection for our employees on site through increased hygiene measures and adapted rules of conduct. On-site assignments will also continue to be carried out in urgent cases, although travel to risk areas is excluded. All events up to the end of May have been postponed and new dates communicated promptly on the Internet. Please continue to register and stay with us. The work on our technical journal and our publications and advertisements also continues, our online shop is available for our customers 24h/7d.

Our digitalisation activities within the VGB100 project, such as the new Social Workspace, are progressing and will further improve our possibilities. In this context, the Corona crisis may also offer the chance to establish more efficient forms of communication and cooperation in the long term.

At the moment we are very grateful that there has not been a COVID19 case at VGB and PTS so far. We kindly ask for your understanding for any inconvenience that might arise from this situation, which is extraordinary for all of us. In case of inquiries and queries regarding our services, please contact the contact persons known to you or the specially named contacts as usual by phone or e-mail.

We thank you for your trust and will continue to be there for you. And please continue to remain with us, whether you are a committee member, project partner, customer or interested member or participant. Take care of yourself and your relatives and stay healthy.