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Climate protection

RWE will be climate neutral by 2040. Our climate targets for 2030 have been certified by the Science Based Targets initiative to be in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

By focusing on renewable and storage technologies, RWE’s energy generation will be climate neutral by 2040. We invest €50 billion gross in this decade. Electricity is the most important energy source of our time for innovation and modernisation. The more digitalisation and electrification progress further, the greater the demand for a permanently available, secure supply will be. Yet, climate change is pushing us to significantly reduce emissions. We intend to cover the rising demand for electricity as best we can and protect the climate at the same time. The steps we need to take towards climate neutrality are clear.

Moving purposefully towards climate neutrality...

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2019 is the base year for our Science-based Target. Note: Figures in million tonnes CO₂-Equivalent.

Between 2012 and 2019, the company reduced its CO2 emissions by around 90 million tonnes – equivalent to a reduction of more than 50%. We will continue to move in this direction. Massively expanding renewables is at the heart of our strategy to reduce CO2 emissions. It involves steadily and responsibly phasing out fossil fuels. We are modernising our power plant fleet and decommissioning older plants in order to improve energy efficiency. In doing so, we are also reducing our CO2 emissions per unit of electricity or heat generated and cutting resource consumption, as well as fuel costs and the need for CO2 certificates. We are also currently moving ahead with projects to produce ‘green’ hydrogen on the basis of electrolysis with renewable electricity and researching storage technologies.

...with concrete measures

From 2020 until 2030

  • In the UK, RWE has decommissioned its last coal-fired power plant in 2020, in Germany RWE will close its last two hard coal power plants at the end of 2020. 
  • The Inden and Hambach opencast mines in Germany will be decommissioned by 2030. 
  • Dutch policy-makers are keen to end coal-fired electricity generation by 2030. RWE will therefore stop emitting CO2 from burning hard coal in the Netherlands by then. RWE is endeavouring to convert both its plants in the Netherlands to biomass and will only operate them with this primary energy source, provided it is politically and economically feasible.

From 2030 until 2040

  • The Garzweiler opencast mine will only be in operation after 2030 for the purpose of supplying RWE’s remaining power stations and refinement facilities with fuel until coal-fired electricity generation comes to an end.
  • Germany plans to end coal-fired electricity generation by 2038 at the latest. 

2040 onwards

  • In addition to an extensive international portfolio with wind turbines and solar panels, RWE will rely on storage devices, biomass and in particular gas-fired power plants run with “green” gas, which will offset fluctuations in the production of energy from the wind and sun.

RWE contributes to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement

With the Paris Agreement at COP 21 in December 2015, almost all countries worldwide committed themselves to jointly limiting the global temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius. To this end, the states have made national reduction pledges. The European Union has committed itself to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared with the base year 1990. RWE is making an important contribution by pressing ahead with the expansion of renewable energies. Our ambitious climate protection targets go beyond those set by the EU and our core markets. Since December 2020, RWE's climate targets for 2030 have been scientifically certified as consistent with a "well below 2 degree" scenario. RWE is thus one of the few electricity producers worldwide with such Science-based Targets.

Cutting other emissions

Pollutants, such as nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, particulate matter and mercury, are also emitted during the generation of electricity and heat at our power stations. Statutory thresholds are observed in our plants with the help of primary emission reduction measures, such as the optimisation of the firing technology and secondary emission reduction measures, including duct extraction and desulphurisation in all operating conditions. The goal is to ensure compliance with the EU targets to reduce mercury emissions from mid-2021 onwards using improved technology.

Particulate matter and noise are the main emissions associated with open-cast mines. We always take suitable measures to reduce these in agreement with supervisory authorities and taking account of operational and local factors. (Concrete measures are outlined in the Sustainability Report.) The operations monitoring services of the open-cast mines are available around the clock for any affected citizens, so that we can take remedial action as swiftly as possible in the event of acute noise pollution. 

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