Premier Kretschmann at Herrenknecht
Schwanau, Germany, March 12, 2013. "Visiting businesses in Baden-Württemberg is an important part of my work. As premier I need to see where we generate our exports," said the premier of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, during a visit to tunnel boring machine manufacturer Herrenknecht on Friday, March 8, 2013. In one of the most innovative regions in Europe there was much to discover, he liked to see for himself on location what the state's private sector was producing, said Kretschmann in Schwanau/South Germany.
He was warmly welcomed by company founder and Chairman of the Board of Management Dr.-Ing. E. h. Martin Herrenknecht, who showed him the company as well as a number of interesting tunnelling projects. Other guests participating in the joint tour of the plant included Prof. Dr. h. c. Lothar Späth, former premier of the state of Baden-Württemberg, the District Administrator of the Ortenau district, Frank Scherer, members of the state parliament Sandra Boser and Thomas Marwein, the Mayor of the town of Lahr, Dr. Wolfgang Müller as well as the Mayor of Schwanau, Wolfgang Brucker together with local councilors from Schwanau.
During his tour of the plant in Schwanau the premier was shown a number of large tunnel boring machines for infrastructure projects in Sao Paulo, St. Petersburg and Savona. Visibly impressed, he expressed his admiration to Martin Herrenknecht: "We need companies that push ahead – in a state like this, governing is a pleasure. With family-run businesses you always feel that special philosophy: they are engineer-driven, it's about the product and the technology, not just about profit."
Discussing the topical subject of Stuttgart 21, premier Winfried Kretschmann stressed that it was important to him to work with civic society on such projects and not against it. Projects needed to be properly planned. "We have to stop beginning cheap and ending expensive," said Kretschmann. For this reason he also supported Martin Herrenknecht’s call for the construction of railway tunnels to be tendered without prior commitment to a specific construction method. Kretschmann: "We need to be open with regard to technology – that way the technically best and most economical solution is the one that is chosen." To date Deutsche Bahn has always committed itself to a particular technical method at the time of tendering. The host and his distinguished guest were also in agreement on the subject of geothermal energy. "Geothermal energy can and must make an important contribution for the energy transition," said Martin Herrenknecht. But it also needed appropriate political support. "In Baden-Württemberg geothermal energy offers great opportunities in the long term, in particular for the supply of heat," the premier added. Currently the Herrenknecht deep drilling rig "InnovaRig" is being used in Brühl for up to 4,000 meter deep drilling for a geothermal power station.