We want to invest in development. We talk with Till Jeske, President of the Board of VH Invest and Founder of Vortex Energy
Vortex Energy was founded in 2004, how do you recall the beginnings of your business?
I founded the company together with my father. In 2004, there were a lot of companies which develop projects in renewable energy in Germany. We wanted to build a family business based on German reliability and principles of good cooperation. With successive – and successful – investments, we decided to focus on small and medium-sized businesses based on renewable energy.
In addition, in 2006 we decided to expand our operations to Poland. It was this year when we started our RES investments on the Polish market. Adam Pantkowski joined our team and from this moment we’re able to better position ourselves at the beginning of our activities in Poland. In 2016, renewable energy regulations changed, which could effectively stand in the way of our company’s development and operations. Despite the uncertainty regarding the future of the Polish renewable energy sector, we decided to bet on this market, keep our team of employees and continue developing projects. Today, we know that this decision has paid off. Increased ecological awareness of the society, as well as availability and popularity of investments related to renewable energy sources make the RES market constantly grow.
What goals does Vortex Energy have for the future? What investment plans does the company have for 2021?
We are currently focusing our activities on the Polish renewable energy market. We have many ideas regarding the development of our company in order to continuously invest in the growth and portfolio of our investments. Soon, we are also planning a major turnaround in our activities, which will allow us to further develop our portfolio and expand the range of implemented projects.
In Germany, photovoltaics and wind energy have been very popular for many years, but what is the situation in Poland? According to Forbes, Poland is in 37th place in the ranking of the most environmentally friendly countries.
We see a big demand on the Polish market for energy from renewable sources. In addition, a great advantage of the Polish market is that we see a changing approach to the use of energy as a counter proposal to the market for conventional energy sources – such as gas or coal. We believe that the constantly growing interest in energy from RES will translate into increased social awareness of both homeowners and large business owners who will look towards the use of renewable resources. I truly believe that this growing awareness will contribute to improving our environment and making better use of resources such as wind and solar e.g. by taking advantage of their availability.
The Covid-19 pandemic isn’t going away, the prolonged lockdown is putting more and more industries in difficulty. What is the situation of the renewable energy sector? Could you tell us, if there are any restrictions and limitations which have been introduced?
We haven’t seen a direct impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on our operations. We partially changed our work model – our employees worked remotely, which kept our team working smoothly. The problems we noticed only concerned administrative issues. Due to the pandemic, direct contact with representatives of public administration was difficult. Now everything is back to normal. We think that 2020 turned out to be a really good year for us. We have met the goals we set out to achieve and have set new ones, thanks to which our offer will become tailored to the needs and expectations of investors.
In february this year, a document “Energy Policy of Poland until 2040” was approved, which presents our country’s strategy for energy transformation. In your opinion, does the current government sufficiently support the energy sector?
I have seen many political changes that were supposed to make significant progress on climate change and the use of alternative energy sources. Today I believe in the sustainable energy market and the real need of consumers for energy from renewable sources. Traditional energy sources will soon become more and more difficult to access. I believe that prosumer interest will shift towards unconventional energy sources such as wind and solar.
In Poland, the subject of nuclear power plants keeps coming up – for 30 years now. In my opinion, it will never happen. And this isn’t because nuclear power is a dangerous technology, but because of the sheer cost of production and the fact that it isn’t competitive with e.g. wind power. A prime example is Hinkley Point C (a nuclear power plant in the UK), which is currently under construction. It is due to be commissioned in 2026 and, interestingly, the government had to promise investors a 35-year (!) fixed feed-in tariff per MWh of electricity produced at £92.5 or £485! By comparison, the last auction of wind energy by the ERO granted investors 230 PLN per MWh for only 15 years and investors were very happy. As we can see – economics doesn’t go hand in hand with politics. What is important is innovation and following solutions that bring real effects, such as price competitiveness. I believe that the energy future of Poland will be mainly based on inexhaustible sources of energy, thanks to which we will effectively become independent from e.g. coal.
We wish you good luck with your further development plans at Vortex Energy. However, we know that you also have another project that is related to your passion – a wine bar called “Czarne Czerwone Złote”. Will you tell us more about this place?
I can honestly say that I have fulfilled one of my dreams. I wanted to create a place where everyone could feel good. I wanted a place that combines good food, excellent wine and an atmosphere that is good for conversations and meetings. I like polish people very much, your culture and cuisine. I wanted to combine this with German quality wines. Before the Second World War, German wines were among the most expensive in the world. Importantly, they were even more expensive than the top-rated French Bordeaux. Today, German wines are back in favour. They tempt with their taste and quality. I recommend trying them and seeing for yourself that quality and taste can go hand in hand. I invite you to visit “Czarne Czerwone Złote” – you will not be disappointed, I guarantee it!