Germany electric utility Greenpeace Energy has proposed a takeover bid for the lignite open-cast mines and power plants currently belonging to German electric utilities company RWE, to shut them down by 2025, and replace them with renewable energy projects such as wind and solar boasting a total output of 8.2 gigawatts.
Greenpeace Energy was founded in 1999 as a legal cooperative, independent of banks and major shareholders, and financially and legally independent of Greenpeace itself. Currently, Greenpeace Energy boasts 24,000 members and 130,000 customers and generated 100% of its electricity from wind and water power.
Announced on Monday, Greenpeace has announced it is planning to move forward with a takeover bid for RWE’s coal assets in the Rheinische Revier. The company’s plan is to shut down the various parts of RWE’s coal operations in the region — decommissioning the Hambach open-cast mine and the six oldest and least efficient power plant units in 2020, the Inden mine and a further six plant units in 2022, and the Garzweiler mine and three final units by 2025. In its place, Greenpeace Energy wants to build 8.2 GW worth of renewable energy capacity made up of 3.8 GW worth of wind power and 4.4 GW worth of solar PV. Together, the renewable energy capacity would generate 15 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity in 2030 — around a quarter of what the Rhenish lignite currently supplies.
That might seem like a bad trade, but it is worth noting that power generation from lignite is expected to decline steadily regardless of whether the assets stay operational, and by the early 2030s would fall below the level of the citizen energy plants that Greenpeace Energy is proposing.
“What we propose is a huge chance for the Rheinische Revier – and brings us a big step forward in climate protection,” said Sönke Tangermann, CEO of Greenpeace Energy. “Our concept is financially fair for all sides and designed so that redundancies can be avoided.”
The entire operation is currently valued at around €384 million, according to Fabian Huneke of the institute Energy Brainpool, who calculated the cost-effectiveness of the plan and the proposed end project.
Greenpeace Energy has apparently been offering talks to RWE Group and other stakeholders from the local level up to the German Government.