Carbon neutrality by 2040
Ambitious, responsible, consistent
The goal is as clear as it is ambitious: RWE aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. Which is roughly 20 years from today – much earlier than the target that is currently being discussed at EU level, namely, “carbon neutrality by 2050”. The company has launched one of the most ambitious programs to reduce CO₂ emissions in the entire industry. In concrete terms, this means that from that time onwards, the company will almost exclusively rely on renewables. For this purpose, RWE will invest an annual amount of 1.5 billion euros in renewable energy and storage technologies. This is one of the largest investment projects in this line of business. By 2040, natural gas power stations, using “green” gases and CO₂ sinks, will ensure security of supply without impacting the climate.
The first step has already been taken: between 2012 and 2018, the company reduced its CO₂ emissions by nearly 60 million tonnes. This is a decline of around a third and is the equivalent of the carbon dioxide emitted by 30 million cars per year.
The next steps on the way to carbon neutrality have already been defined: in Great Britain, RWE will shut down its last coal-fired power station in 2020. In Germany, further coal-fired power plants will successively go offline by 2030, in accordance with the recommendations of the structural change commission. And in the Netherlands, politicians have requested that coal-fired power generation is stopped by 2030. As a result, RWE will no longer emit CO₂ from coal-fired power plants in the Netherlands from that time onwards. RWE is currently converting both stations in the Netherlands to biomass and plans to operate them exclusively with this energy source, provided this is possible from a political and economic point of view. All this will lead to a further, significant reduction of CO₂ emissions of nearly 65 million tonnes. By 2030, emissions will have been reduced by 70 per cent compared to 2012.
In the decade leading up to 2040, RWE will take the final step towards carbon neutrality. By 2038 at the latest, Germany plans to end coalfired power generation. In the period after that, RWE will rely on storage, biomass and gas turbine power plants that are primarily operated with “green” gas – which balance out the fluctuating production of wind and solar power – as well as their large international portfolio of wind farms and solar facilities. Today, the company is already driving projects in order to produce green hydrogen using electrolysis with renewables.
Twenty years ago, who could have predicted today’s reality? And the same goes for today: none of us knows what 2040 will be like. Digitalisation and innovative technologies, particularly in the field of power supply, offer tremendous development opportunities. And RWE has employees who aim to use their expertise, their engineering skills, and their energy to take these exact opportunities and drive progress. Whether the solution is green gas, highly efficient batteries, or something completely new – at the end of the day, only one thing counts: ensuring that RWE is carbon-neutral by 2040.