Energy prices are high, industries are recovering from the Corona crisis, but the wind was comparatively weak: RWE’s coal and nuclear power plants – in fact abandoned models – have benefited from this constellation over the past three years. first quarters of this year. Germany’s largest electricity producer reports a profit of a good billion euros for the months of January to September, almost 30% more than in the same time of the year former.
RWE owes this mainly to conventional power plants and energy trading, while its own wind farms were weakening. “We performed better in the first three quarters than in the previous year, despite the weather-related losses,” says CFO Michael Müller. This is mainly due to “good deals in energy trading”. The so-called traders of the group trade in a manner similar to the stock exchange with electricity, gas and raw materials as well as with CO₂ emission rights.
If you look at which power plants RWE has used to generate how much electricity over the past nine months, then Dax’s company is still primarily a gas, coal, and nuclear company. Just under a fifth of the electricity produced by RWE came from wind and solar farms, hydropower plants or biomass power plants. However, so far this year there has been relatively little wind in Europe. In addition, exceptional freezing cold at the start of the year temporarily paralyzed RWE’s wind farms in the southern USA.
The coal piles are under pressure
Nonetheless, the Essen-based company’s power plant fleet has already changed – and will continue to change: that country’s last nuclear reactors are due to be decommissioned by the end of next year. In addition, Germany wants to phase out climate-damaging coal-fired electricity production by 2038 at the latest; the probable future federal government made up of the SPD, the Greens and the FDP wants “ideally” to advance this exit to 2030, according to the exploratory document. Together with the opencast lignite mines and power plants in the Rhineland, RWE is one of the biggest CO₂ emitters and the enemy of the climate movement in Europe.
In principle, coal piles are also under economic pressure, as greenhouse gas emission certificates in the European Union tend to become increasingly scarce and expensive. However, plant operators can also purchase these emission allowances in advance. According to its own information, RWE protected itself against rising CO₂ prices until 2030.
Nevertheless, by its own admission, RWE wants to invest almost exclusively in renewable energies. For example, the group is building more and more wind turbines in the USA and France – or solar parks in southern Europe. And he is making more and more money with “green” energy. In the first three quarters, for example, coal and nuclear power plants accounted for no less, but also no more than about 30 percent of RWE’s profit before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.
Next Monday, the board of directors around the new boss Markus Krebber will then announce how he intends to further develop the company’s strategy. “The current decade is crucial on the road to climate neutrality,” RWE already shares this idea in the invitation to the so-called Capital Market Day.