|Business areas||Conventional power generation (lignite) and nuclear power|
|Facts about the company||Around one quarter of Germany’s electricity comes from lignite, making it the largest native energy source. RWE Power’s conventional power plants will be needed for years to come in order to safeguard the energy transition.|
|Sites||Essen, Cologne, Germany (headquarters)
Operating sites in the Rhenish mining district
Who we are
An overview of the company
Backbone of supply security and strong partner in the mining district
RWE Power produces electricity from lignite and nuclear energy. The nuclear power segment is managed by RWE Nuclear, a fully owned subsidiary of RWE AG, managed by RWE Power AG. The conventional energy sources reliably produce electricity when wind and sun are not available. This makes the power plants in the Rhenish mining district and those of RWE Nuclear the backbone of supply security in Germany. They will still be needed for years to come as the transition to electricity from solar and wind is a long process.
The Commission on Growth, Structural Change and Employment set up by the German Federal Government presented its final report in January 2019. The paper stipulates that electricity generation from coal in Germany is to end by 2038 at the latest. This decision will have a big impact on the Rhenish mining district where around half of the lignite used for electricity generation in Germany is extracted. The largest closed lignite deposit in Europe is located there. RWE Power employs more than 10,000 people at mining and power plant sites totalling approximately 9,000 hectares and extracts almost 100 million tonnes of lignite per year. A small proportion of the raw coal is used to produce briquettes, pulverised lignite, fluidised-bed lignite and coke for domestic and industrial use. Around 90 per cent is turned into electricity in the power plants of the mining district. Rhenish lignite provides just over 70 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year – around twelve per cent of the total electricity demand in Germany.
Germany is the only country in the world that is phasing out electricity generation from coal and nuclear power at the same time. The exit from nuclear power will be complete by the end of 2022, the coal phase-out is to be concluded by 2038 at the latest. RWE Power will implement both processes in a safe and responsible manner. This requires planning certainty – as do our employees and the region. We will make our contribution towards the future of the mining district and remain a reliable partner.
Together with our research partners we will pilot a large heat storage system on one of our power plant sites. There, excess green electricity could be used to heat molten salt to 560 degrees, which is then stored in a tank until it is needed to generate steam for a turbine during peak demand times. The possibility of using geo-thermal heat for the Aachen district heating grid is to be explored in Weisweiler in collaboration with renowned partners from the world of science and the relevant authorities. At the Niederaussem power plant site, a pilot plant that scrubs CO2 from flue gases produced by the neighbouring power plant unit is already in operation. These RWE Power projects make an important contribution towards a successful energy transition and the future of the mining district.