German power giant RWE, Europe’s biggest emitter, aims for zero carbon by 2040

(EurActiv, 1 Oct 2019) German energy giant RWE said Monday (30 September) it aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040, winding up fossil-fuel activities while building up renewable generation, after taking over parts of competitor E.ON.

Highly-polluting brown coal and nuclear “laid the foundations we are building the new RWE on… But every form of energy has its time,” chief executive Rolf Martin Schmitz said in a statement.

A massive exchange of assets with E.ON, which will see RWE specialise in electricity generation and its former competitor focus on grids, is the first step in a new strategy.

RWE plans to spend €1.5 billion per year on “both offshore and onshore wind turbines as well as photovoltaics and storage”.

That spending could mount to two or €3 billion per year if contributions from partners are counted in.

After a green light from the European Commission, Monday was the first day E.ON’s former renewables activities were integrated with RWE, alongside generation capacity from RWE’s former subsidiary Innogy.

Asset swap

The transfers mean the company is now Europe’s number three in emissions-free electricity, after Spain’s Iberdrola and Italy’s Enel.

As well as building up new renewable capacity, RWE plans to shutter or convert all of its coal-fired plants in Britain and the Netherlands by 2030.

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EurActiv, 1 Oct 2019: German power giant RWE, Europe’s biggest emitter, aims for zero carbon by 2040