An excavator photographed at a lignite mine operated by RWE on April 8, 2022. RWE says it desires to be carbon impartial by 2040.
Alex Kraus | Bloomberg | Getty Pictures
The chief monetary officer of German vitality agency RWE advised CNBC Thursday that it’ll burn extra coal within the brief time period — however insists its plans to be carbon impartial sooner or later stay in place.
Michael Muller’s feedback come as European international locations scramble to shore up vitality provides, because the battle in Ukraine continues.
Russia was the most important provider of each petroleum oils and pure gasoline to the EU final yr, in response to Eurostat. It has considerably lowered flows of pure gasoline to Europe after Western nations imposed sanctions on the Kremlin on account of its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Germany — Europe’s largest economic system — has determined to recommission a few of its coal-fired energy crops with a view to compensate for its lack of Russian gasoline.
“RWE is actively supporting the German authorities, or European governments, in managing the vitality disaster,” Muller advised CNBC’s Joumanna Bercetche. “So we’re additionally bringing again further coal capability to handle that scenario.”
This plan will contain three of RWE’s lignite-fired energy stations being introduced again to the grid from the beginning of October.
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RWE says lignite, also referred to as brown coal and thought of significantly unhealthy for the surroundings, “stays a dependable accomplice to at the present time.” It provides that RWE Energy — which focuses on lignite and nuclear energy era — extracts thousands and thousands of metric tons of coal every year.
All the above represents a hurdle for the Essen-headquartered enterprise, which has mentioned it desires to be carbon-neutral by the yr 2040.
A fossil gas, coal has a considerable impact on the surroundings and Greenpeace has described it as “the dirtiest, most polluting approach of manufacturing vitality.” Coal produces a slew of probably harmful combustion emissions, together with carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, particulates and nitrogen oxides.
“What’s at present taking place is … hopefully a brief time period problem the place we have to discover the safety of provide,” RWE’s Müller mentioned.
“And that is why, simply from a company citizen’s perspective, we really feel it’s our obligation to help the German authorities in bringing again capability within the brief time period — however to be very clear, it does not change our technique,” he added.
“So whereas [in the] brief time period now we have to burn further coal, it must be clear that there must be an acceleration of constructing out renewables in order that we nonetheless meet … targets within the medium and long-term.”
On Thursday, RWE reported earnings for the primary half of 2022, with adjusted web revenue coming in at 1.6 billion euros (round $1.66 billion), in comparison with 870 million euros within the first half of 2021.
The corporate mentioned it had invested roughly 2 billion euros in increasing its inexperienced portfolio within the first half of 2022. “Whole investments will come to greater than 5 billion [euros] by the tip of 2022,” it added.
Electrical energy era from renewables was round 20% increased on this interval in comparison with the primary half of 2021, it mentioned, citing improved wind circumstances and elevated capability.