German power giant RWE aims for zero carbon by 2040

BERLIN: German energy giant RWE said Monday (Sep 30) it aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040, winding up fossil-fuel activities while building up renewable generation, after taking over parts of competitor EON.

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.

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A massive exchange of assets with EON, 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 (US$1.6 billion) per year on "both offshore and onshore wind turbines as well as photovoltaics and storage".

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

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

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