German energy giant RWE brought forward its exit from coal power to 2030 on Tuesday amid fears the country’s plans to abandon fossil fuels are wobbling following the energy crisis caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Russia’s curtailing of gas exports to Germany in the wake of the Ukraine war has forced Berlin to make the radical decision to restart mothballed coal power stations, at least temporarily.
“As more coal is needed in the short term, thereby leading to rising carbon dioxide emissions, we will need an earlier coal exit because this is the only way to continue to achieve the country’s climate protection goals,” RWE chief executive Markus Krebber told a press conference.
“We, as RWE, are making a significant contribution to this — we will end coal-based power generation in 2030,” he added, bringing forward the company’s plans by eight years.
Germany began winding down its coal-fired power plants a few years ago with a view to eventually ending usage of the fossil fuel.
But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has upended plans as Moscow reduced energy exports to Germany in what Berlin believes is retaliation for its support for Kiev.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government has authorised the restart of 27 mothballed plants or those put in reserve to help fill the energy gap until March 2024.
Bringing Germany’s planned coal exit forward from 2038 to 2030 was one of the central pledges of Scholz’s coalition government when it was elected last year.
RWE last week said it had signed a purchase agreement for the Clean Energy Business affiliate of New York-based Con Edison, a deal valued at $6.8 billion that would significantly boost its US renewables portfolio.
Hurriyet Daily News