The current market situation with extreme energy prices is unprecedented. That is the opinion of Corné van Steekelenburg of energy management company Samax. The company, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year, is an energy specialist in the horticultural sector and advises and unburdens 33 horticultural businesses in the field of energy. They are also setting up joint data services.

Below, Corné casts his eye over the current market situation. "The situation calls for an active and well-considered strategy. There are many companies that are considering what strategy to follow for the coming winter months."

Growing an optimal product
There is a lot to read these days about how things have come to this point, not only in the horticultural media. What is certain is that energy prices will rise explosively in the year 2021. Corné points out that there are 'all sorts of reasons' for the current situation, including higher demand for gas, lower supplies of LNG to European destinations, and lower supplies of gas from Russia.

However, perhaps even more interesting is what horticultural businesses can do about the situation or how they should deal with it. Corné: "First and foremost, all companies want to go all out for optimum production of a high-quality product. They commit their name to this and in many cases also have ongoing agreements with their customers."

Changing strategy
"At the same time, they face a challenge in coping with the high market prices. Some are considering shifting the lighting hours to cheaper hours or going into the winter with a different cultivation strategy. Others want to continue with what they have always done but want to cover themselves well in advance by locking in gas and electricity, even though prices are high."

Where possible, energy is saved through less heat and/or fewer exposure hours. "Or by keeping a lower lighting capacity. We are also looking at other revenue opportunities such as offering extra flexibility on the power market."

Higher product price?
At Samax, they notice that for every crop and every individual company, the consideration is different. "It could be that the balance between supply and demand for gas recovers in one fell swoop and prices suddenly start to fall, but we don't see that yet," says Corné based on what he saw in the middle of last week. "It could well be that the increased costs will also lead to a higher product price, but that too is not yet certain." One thing is certain, according to him: "It will be an interesting winter."

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Corné van Steekelenburg
Samax B.V.