Hurlimann, who left Switzerland's EKZ Renewables to join the Swiss-based energy company MET Group in May, said that the company’s goal was to increase their renewable portfolio to at least 500 MW by 2023.
“Our goal is to build a geographically and technologically diversified renewable portfolio, consisting of solar and wind projects. In line with this strategy, we are acquiring assets along the whole value chain,” he said.
MET Group’s operations began in Hungary in 2007 and were focused on the natural gas wholesale and retail sector. Now, however, the company considers renewable expansion to be a key part of its business strategy going forward.
The company is targeting further diversification into wind and photovoltaics in Serbia, Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria and potentially other CEE and SEE countries.
Although, according to Hurlimann, the fragmentation of the CEE and SEE regions poses certain risks for new investments, the expected and ongoing surge in CO2 prices will bring fossil fuel generation to an end and make room for renewable energy-based capacities.
MET Group interested in gas-fired plants
While renewables will be one of the company’s main focuses, natural gas will still play a very important role.
“Although the proportion of renewables is increasing rapidly in power generation, the importance of natural gas as a transition fuel will not change in the foreseeable future,” said Hurlimann.
In March, the CEO of MET Group, Benjamin Lakatos, said that the company was interested in building gas-fired power plants in Serbia.
Since energy grids are increasingly installed with solar and wind energy, which makes matching the supply and demand of energy more difficult, natural gas will still play a major role in providing the flexibility required by energy networks.
“Gas-fired power plants are among the potential targets for MET Group. MET’s core competence is natural gas, and this competence in natural gas and gas-based power production helps us to support the energy transition toward a zero-carbon world,” added Hurlimann.
MET Group is also thinking about hydrogen production, but for now the company remains strategically focused on traditional renewable projects in the long term and will seek out opportunities for investment into gas-based infrastructure assets.