German electric utility giant RWE has announced its intention this week to become carbon neutral by 2040 and to transition into one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies.
RWE has already managed to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by one-third between 2012 and 2018, representing a decline of 60 million metric tons, and is now targeting a further reduction of 70% by 2030 on its way to becoming carbon neutral by 2040. To accomplish its newly-announced goals, the company will decommission its last coal-fired power station in the United Kingdom — further reducing coal’s ability to generate in the UK — while the company will steadily seek to decommission its German coal-fired power plants as well. In the Netherlands, the government has already determined coal will be ended by 2030, and RWE is already in the process of converting its coal-fired plants in Eemshaven and Amer to fire biomass.
“This presents RWE with a huge task,” explained Rolf Martin Schmitz, CEO of RWE AG. “But we have a very clear idea of how to achieve our goal: We will phase out fossil energy sources both consistently and responsibly. We will make huge investments in wind and solar power as well as in high-capacity storage technologies. The new RWE is and will remain one of the major players in the electricity generation business.”
RWE’s ambition, then, is to become a renewable energy giant — “a global player made in Germany” — with an installed capacity of over 9 gigawatts (GW), including biomass, wind, and solar.
“Lignite and nuclear energy have laid the foundations we are building the new RWE on,” said Schmitz. “Past, current and future employees working in conventional areas have our utmost respect. But every form of energy has its time. Now we are opening a new chapter of our corporate history, which looks back on over 120 years. With great enthusiasm for the new world, without forgetting where we came from. Openness, fairness and respect for each other’s work will characterise the new RWE as well.”
“In the last few years, we have worked hard to give RWE a robust financial setup and make the company fit for the future,” added CFO Markus Krebber. “Today, our operations are profitable, our processes are efficient, and we offer our shareholders an attractive dividend. We have the financial, strategic and personnel power required to run renewable energy operations all over the world. This is an outstanding basis from which to seize the opportunities of the future.”
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