Despite violent protests and planned coal phase-out, the Datteln 4 power plant went online in May. In order not to endanger its eco-course, RWE wants to get rid of its old contract with all its might. Meanwhile, the energy giant is about to conclude an important deal with a competitor.
The energy company RWE does not want electricity from the new coal-fired power plant in Datteln 4. “We are currently not purchasing any electricity from Datteln 4,” said CEO Rolf Martin Schmitz at the Group’s online general meeting. RWE was still of the opinion that it had effectively terminated the contracts it had signed with the date operator Uniper years ago. Therefore “there will be no obligation to accept goods in the future”. With this legal view, RWE had already failed twice before the courts. But the question has not yet been finally decided, Schmitz emphasized. RWE is also in talks with Uniper.
Datteln 4 went online at the end of May after years of delay despite violent protests from climate protectionists. Electricity from Datteln 4 no longer fits RWE’s new business model, which wants to transform itself from a coal-fired electricity supplier into one of the world’s leading producers of renewable energies. RWE will invest 5 billion euros in renewable energies and storage by 2022, Schmitz confirmed. The Corona crisis didn’t change that either.
In 2018, the two Dax groups, RWE and Eon, agreed on a comprehensive realignment of the business areas of the energy giants. The implementation is nearing completion, said Schmitz. “The final chord will follow next Tuesday.” Then the renewable energies business unit will return to RWE from the battered RWE subsidiary Innogy. Eon has taken over Innogy’s energy networks and end customer business.
RWE has set up its own company to handle the Innogy fragmentation in order to save tax on the transaction. A control and profit transfer agreement had already been concluded with the GBV thirty-fourth company for investment management mbH (GBV 34) as a subsidiary in February, explained Markus Krebber, RWE’s chief financial officer. It is therefore a wholly owned subsidiary of RWE AG, the profits of which “are transferred to RWE AG without additional tax charges”.
Environmental activists occupy excavators in protest
Climate protectionists do not buy the ecological course from RWE. With protests at the RWE lignite mine Garzweiler, they protested the planned coal phase-out law of the federal government, which is to be passed by the Bundestag on July 3. After that, coal-fired power generation in this country is to be ended by 2038, for which the state will compensate the suppliers with billions of euros.
According to the police, members of the organizations “Ende Ende” and “Einsatz Kohlestopp” occupied a total of six excavators and other mining machines. RWE had to temporarily stop coal mining, as a spokesman said. Other demonstrators used a human chain to draw a symbolic red line at the Garzweiler opencast mine. They criticize the fact that the law should stipulate the excavation of other towns on the Garzweiler open-cast mine.
Schmitz said at the online general meeting that the relocations were “still necessary to be able to meet the coal demand by 2038”. The federal government has “clearly stated”. RWE will implement the “relocations completely and as quickly as possible”.
The opponents of lignite also criticize the compensation of EUR 2.6 billion that RWE is to receive for the early exit from lignite. Schmitz countered that the costs of RWE for the premature shutdown of the power plants at 3.5 billion euros were significantly higher than the compensation.