Russia’s war in Ukraine makes renewables growth 'top priority' – RWE

RWE boss reaffirms German company’s renewables expansion plans in bid to ensure security of energy supply

Speaking as RWE unveiled its 2021 financial results, CEO Markus Krebber said the company “will implement every renewables project that’s possible”
Speaking as RWE unveiled its 2021 financial results, CEO Markus Krebber said the company “will implement every renewables project that’s possible”

RWE has vowed to “implement every renewables project possible” as Europe looks to wean itself off Russian gas and ensure a security of energy supply.

CEO Markus Krebbber said renewables expansion will be critical to diversifying fuel supplies as the German energy firm stated it will look to replace raw material imports from Russia, following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

European policy makers have scrambled to reduce their energy dependence on Russia, with the EU recently confirming the need for renewables to play a greater role in the bloc’s energy mix.

Unveiling its financial results for 2021, RWE stated that it plans to continue with its planned expansion of its core business — which consists of wind, solar, batteries, gas and hydrogen – with gross investments of €50 billion by 2030. 

Under a plan unveiled in November, it aims to triple its offshore wind capacity to 8GW, increase its onshore wind fleet to 12GW and solar to 8GW by 2030. 

In the short-term, RWE plans to review which of its German coal-fired power plants that have already been taken off grid or are earmarked for decommissioning could be transferred to be available as reserve power.

It does not believe this should change the fundamental decision to phase out coal, RWE stated. However, the company warned that further acceleration of the coal phase-out will depend on the speed of the expansion of renewables and grids, the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy, and the construction of flexible generation capacity.

Krebber said the people of Ukraine “fighting for their country, freedom and survival” had RWE’s “full solidarity”. “The impact of the war is hitting the energy markets with full force," he added. "Therefore, ensuring security of supply and diversifying fuel supplies are the top priorities for policy makers — particularly through the expansion of renewables. 

“We will implement every renewables project that’s possible.”

Full-year results

RWE recorded an 11% increase in adjusted Ebitda for 2021, with earnings rising to €3.65 billion, citing an “outstanding” trading performance and higher earnings from conventional power generation.

The company noted that it had made up for its poor start to 2021, when extreme weather in Texas caused a €400 million hit to its finances.

Adjusted Ebitda from its offshore wind business inched up to €1.1 billion in 2021, due to the full consolidation of its 400MW Rampion Rampion (400MW) Offshoreoff Sussex, England, UK, Europe Click to see full details project and partial commissioning of its 857MW Triton Knoll Triton Knoll (857MW) Offshoreoff Lincolnshire, England, UK, Europe Click to see full details wind farm off the UK.

These new additions made up for poorer wind conditions compared with the previous year, RWE stated.

It expects adjusted Ebitda of €1.35-1.6 billion from offshore wind in the 2022 financial year.

Meanwhile, adjusted Ebitda in RWE’s onshore wind and solar business slid 50% to €258 million due to the cold snap in Texas and lower wind speeds.

It expects adjusted Ebitda of €650-800 million from onshore wind and solar in the 2022 financial year.

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