Europe's largest German company in the energy sector, RWE, which is itself the biggest polluter of carbon dioxide (CO2), aims to become carbon neutral within 20 years by focusing on the production of green energy, such as wind and solar, as well as in the storage of electricity.
RWE announced a new strategy to become carbon neutral by 2040. Its idea is the closure of coal plants in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands and a massive investment in green energy.
RWE promised in a press conference to reduce its emissions by 70 percent by 2030 from 2012 levels, and to cut coal-fired generation by 2040.
According to the British NGO Sandbag, RWE operates three of the five most CO2-intensive power plants in Europe, a role that has made the company one of the main targets of climate activists.
It is also the largest CO2 emitter in Europe, according to Carbon Market Data.
The move will involve the closure of RWE's last UK coal-fired power station, Aberthaw B, next year, something it announced in August, and the conversion of two plants in the Netherlands to burn biomass, by 2030.
The company's six remaining coal plants operating in Germany will close in 2038, RWE said, in line with the German government's goal of removing fuel from the German power system on the same date.
To make up for the generation shortfall, RWE said it will invest 1.5 billion euros a year in green energy technologies, including wind and solar power, biogas and energy storage.
“We have a very clear idea of how to achieve our goal: we will phase out fossil energy sources consistently and responsibly,” confirmed CEO Rolf Martin Schmitz.
“We will invest heavily in wind and solar energy, as well as high-capacity storage technologies. The new RWE is and will continue to be one of the main players in the electricity generation business ”, added the businessman.
In recent years, RWE has moved its renewable energy business to a separate company called Innogy, which E.ON acquired last year in a complex deal that gave RWE a 17% stake in E.ON.
In turn, RWE acquired E.ON's renewable energy business, giving it a broad portfolio of green generation assets.
However, RWE remains one of the largest carbon emitters in Europe and relies heavily on lignite and hard coal in Germany, making it a target for climate protesters.
The company now aims to become a "global player" in the renewable energy business and derive 60% of its revenues from green energy, primarily by expanding its wind and solar energy portfolio.
“Past, current and future employees working in conventional areas have our highest respect, but each form of energy has its time. Now we are opening a new chapter in our corporate history, which goes back more than 120 years ”, the executive closed.