German energy company RWE said it would step up its investment in renewable energy on Monday, as the country’s potential new government plans an earlier exit from coal.
Between 2021 and 2030, RWE plans to plough 50 billion euros ($57 billion) into off- and on-shore wind, solar energy, battery farms, hydrogen and gas, the group said in a statement.
The investment of an “average of 5 billion euros gross each year” would see RWE’s renewables capacity in Europe, north America and Asia double to 50 gigawatts (GW) from 25 GW currently.
That would mean building an extra 2.5 GW of capacity per year, versus the annual increase of 1.5 GW planned under the group’s previous roadmap.
In particular, RWE plans to expand its offshore wind capacity to 8 GW from 2.4 GW, and its production from onshore wind and solar to 20 GW from 7 GW.
As well as expanding its battery storage capacity to 3 GW by 2030, RWE plans to invest further in gas-fired power stations, a “flexible” source of energy intended to “secure supply” that it also categorises as renewable.
The Essen-based group intends to add “at least” 2 GW of capacity to its 14 GW gas network, the second largest in Europe according to RWE, promising a “clear decarbonisation roadmap” for the plants.
Under the new strategy, RWE hopes to reach an operating profit (EBITDA) of 5 billion euros in 2030, “likely more than twice the figure for the current fiscal year”.
RWE, whose coal-mining activities have been targeted by climate activists in recent years, sees itself “in a great position to actively shape the key decade of the energy transition”, according to CEO Markus Krebber.
Following a general election in Germany in September, the Social Democrats, Greens and liberal Free Democrats are in the process of negotiating a new coalition agreement.
A preliminary agreement between the parties said the new coalition would “ideally” bring forward Germany’s exit from coal by up to eight years to 2030.
The plan was agreed before world leaders agreed an ambition to “phase down” the use of coal for energy.