RWE has repositioned itself fundamentally over the last few years. At the beginning of this transformation process, RWE was still an integrated utility, which was active along the entire energy value chain. Now, we are a company specialising in power production and energy trading that wants to make a contribution to the substantial transformation of the energy sector on the strength of almost carbon-free electricity generation that is both secure and affordable. In early 2018, we agreed an extensive asset swap with E.ON, which has now been completed. As part of the transaction, we sold our 76.8 % investment in innogy in September 2019 and received in return E.ON’s renewable energy business, a 16.67 % stake in E.ON, and the minority interests in our nuclear power stations Gundremmigen (25 %) and Emsland (12.5 %) held by the E.ON subsidiary PreussenElektra. At the beginning of July 2020, the following innogy activities were legally transferred back to RWE as the final step of the transaction: the renewable energy business, the German and Czech gas storage facilities, and a 37.9 % stake in the Austrian energy utility Kelag.
Outstanding starting position in renewable energy
The renewable energy operations of E.ON and innogy under the RWE umbrella have turned us into a world leading producer of electricity from renewable sources. At the end of 2019, we had a renewable energy portfolio with a total capacity of 8.7 GW (pro rata). We are the world No. 2 in offshore wind. In addition to existing assets, we have acquired a large number of growth projects in various stages of development. Here again, the focus is on wind, followed by photovoltaics. Electricity production from renewables will clearly be our strongest income generator.
Our goal by 2040: RWE will become carbon neutral
We continued to develop our strategy concurrently to the implementation of the asset swap with E.ON and set ourselves ambitious goals in terms of lowering our greenhouse gas emissions. RWE reduced its annual carbon dioxide emissions by 51 % from 2012 to 2019. By 2030, we plan to have lowered them by 75 %. The phaseout of electricity generation from coal will play a central role. By 2040, we want to have converted enough of our power plant portfolio to achieve our goal of being carbon neutral. To this end, we will rapidly expand renewable energy, make more use of storage technologies and use CO2-neutral fuel to produce electricity. This strategic alignment is also reflected in RWE’s brand. Our purpose, ‘Our energy for a sustainable life’, is an expression of the determination of the RWE Group and its approximately 20,000 employees to ensure a sustainable energy system.
Fast growth in wind and solar power
The most important element of our strategy is shifting our focus to make increased use of renewable energy sources. The asset swap with E.ON gives us an excellent starting position, which we will strengthen rapidly. We want to increase our wind and solar capacity to over 13 GW by the end of 2022. We plan net investments of approximately €5.0 billion on this by 2022. Reinvesting proceeds from the sale of stakes in projects could actually cause the gross expenditure to be much higher. Our technological focus rests on wind energy and photovoltaics. Geographically, we will concentrate on markets in Europe, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region. We will maintain the integrated business model pursued by innogy and E.ON to date, meaning that our new projects will cover the entire value chain from development to construction and operation wherever possible.
Conventional electricity generation: growing significance of gas as a source of energy
Building the storage infrastructure required for a nationwide supply of green electricity is a task that will take decades, not years to accomplish. Therefore, power stations capable of offsetting fluctuating wind and solar power feed-ins will remain necessary for the foreseeable future. With our conventional generation capacity, we are making an indispensable contribution to the reliable and tailored supply of electricity in our core markets in Germany, the United Kingdom and the Benelux region. Our gas-fired power stations, most of which are state-of-the-art, are especially well suited to partner with renewable energy because they emit little carbon dioxide and their output can be adapted to load fluctuations in the grid very quickly. In terms of generation capacity, gas is already our major conventional source of energy, and its share of our power plant portfolio is expected to increase further.
Supply & Trading – commercial hub for the generation business
Energy trading is part of RWE’s core business. It forms the economic link between the elements of our value chain, the regional markets and the various energy commodities. It is overseen by the Group company RWE Supply & Trading, which focuses on trading electricity, gas, coal, oil, biomass, and CO2 certificates. RWE Supply & Trading mainly conducts these activities from Europe as well as via subsidiaries in New York, Singapore and Beijing. Another of the Group company’s activities consists of marketing the electricity from RWE power stations and procuring the fuel and emission allowances required to produce it. The objective here is to limit price risks. On top of that, RWE Supply & Trading is in charge of the commercial optimisation of our power plant dispatch.
Attractive investment portfolio increases financial strength
RWE’s business operations are supplemented by a portfolio of financial investments in energy companies, which we believe will be a reliable source of substantial income. The largest position is the stake in E.ON, which we received as part of the asset swap. It amounted to 16.7 % when it was acquired in September 2019. We reduced it to 15 % shortly thereafter. Our investment portfolio also includes a 25.1 % share of the German transmission system operator Amprion and the 37.9 % interest in the Austrian utility Kelag mentioned earlier.
Dividend for 2020
RWE AG’s dividend policy will remain in line with the principle of economic sustainability. The Executive Board intends to pay a dividend of €0.85 per share for fiscal 2020, which is slightly higher than for 2019. It is envisaged that the dividend payment will continue rising steadily in line with the development of our core business in the following years.