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Created before Nov 2016
Last update: 2016-07-04 21:26:55
Yann Louvel - BankTrack
Climate & Energy Campaign Coordinator - Tel: +33 1 48 51 18 92
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RWE is Europe's second largest electricity generator and one of Europe's five leading gas and electricity companies. Founded in 1898, the company is active in the generation, trading, transmission and supply of electricity and gas. It has a generation capacity of over 50 GW of which over 20 GW consists of coal-fired power plants (using hard coal and lignite).
RWE's coal-fired power plants are located in Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Central and Eastern Europe. At the same time, RWE also has around 4GW in nuclear energy produced by its five nuclear reactors in Germany.
Peter Terium |
Shareholders, publicly listed company
NUCLEAR - The EPR - two of which are being built in Finland and France - has embarrassed the nuclear industry and stalled the nuclear ‘renaissance' by being both massively over-budget, behind-schedule, and plagued with thousands of safety concerns and construction defects.
ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY - For decades, the combination of strip-mining and building huge thermal power plants nearby has generated enormous profits for RWE. Recently, however, RWE has announced radical plans to re-shape itself. What has happened?
Economically, RWE is a troubled company. It has been caught in a vicious circle by building extremely expensive new power plants that require huge amounts of lignite to operate at capacity. This, in turn, forces it to sink large amounts of money into developing new mine expansions. These power stations may, however, never return a profit as Germany's rapidly expanding share of renewable energy is beginning to push coal out of the market.
Whereas the electricity market used to be dominated by a handful of large utilities, the revolution in renewables has enabled a multitude of small companies, energy cooperatives, municipalities and private citizens all over the country to produce electricity. The days of "peaceful coexistence" between renewables and coal are over in Germany.