Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica

Coal

RWE Abandons All Present & Future Coal Plans

RWE, one of Germany’s “big four” utilities, announced last Friday that it has cancelled plans for the BoAplus lignite coal-fired power station at the company’s site in Niederaussem, near Cologne, Germany, and promised to cease investing in new coal generation capacity.

RWE, one of Germany’s “big four” utilities, announced last Friday that it has cancelled plans for the BoAplus lignite coal-fired power station at the company’s site in Niederaussem, near Cologne, Germany, and promised to cease investing in new coal generation capacity.

Weisweiler power plant
Image Credit: RWE

“We are aware of our responsibility and continue to drive the energy transition with resolve,” explained Rolf Martin Schmitz, CEO of RWE AG. “New coal-fired power stations no longer have a place in our future-oriented strategy. Following the completion of the transaction with E.ON, RWE will be one of the world’s leading renewable energy players.”

Thus, plans for the Niederaussem BoAplus lignite coal-fired power station — which was originally planned all the way back in 2012 and intended to be equipped with “cutting-edge and extremely efficient technology” — will be scrapped as the company instead focuses all its future activity on “electricity generation from renewable energy sources.”

However, the company’s big announcement isn’t necessarily all its cracked up to be. RWE insisted in its press release that “existing coal-fired power stations will be needed to provide backup capacity” in the future, “given the fact that renewables currently contribute about 40% to the German electricity mix.” Even though RWE admits that coal’s “share in the electricity mix will decline gradually,” that the company insists it must remain for the time being is discouraging.

Further, while RWE has promised to invest in electricity generation from renewable energy sources, later on in its press release it explains that the company will “invest in renewable energies, storage technologies, and low-carbon technologies such as gas-fired power stations if market conditions allow for it.”

Neurath power plant
Image Credit: RWE

RWE is hedging its bets, making a splashy announcement that will earn it a seat at the cool kids’ table moving forward, while still allowing it to hold on to business-as-usual practices until it is no longer financially profitable. What is needed, however, is for companies to fully commit to renewable energy and energy storage technologies now – rather than at some unknown point down the path – so as to better support the development of these technologies so that they can become more financially viable and profitable sooner, rather than later.

This point was made by the German chapter of Friends of the Earth, Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland, which highlighted their belief that “RWE needs to do more.” According to BUND energy expert Tina Löffelsend, the cancellation of the BoAplus project was bound for failure in either case. It has been clear for years that a new coal-fired power plant can neither be justified from a climate perspective nor an economic one. The abandonment was long overdue and is in itself not yet a certificate for taking climate responsibility. If RWE is serious about its climate responsibility, it would need to close its old power stations in Neurath and Niederaussem as of 2020. Further, Löffelsend pointed to the German Kohlekommission’s (coal commission) findings that 3 GW of lignite capacity could be decommissioned, and that Germany should aim for a complete exit from coal by 2038.

 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
 

Advertisement
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

Comments

You May Also Like

Cars

Europe’s largest auto market, Germany, saw plugin electric vehicles take 34.4% share in November, up from 20.5% a year ago. Full electrics (BEVs) alone...

Clean Transport

44 more multi-unit battery-electric trains from Stadler are coming.

Cars

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 electric car just nailed down the 2022 German Car of the Year award and is coming soon to a theater...

Batteries

Tesla has dropped out of a subsidy program for battery factories in Germany but there may be more to the story.

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.