07 Oct 2020, 13:39
Sören Amelang

German utility EnBW pledges to become climate neutral by 2035

Clean Energy Wire

German power company EnBW has committed to becoming climate-neutral within 15 years. "The goal is for the entire company to become completely climate-neutral by no later than 2035," EnBW said. "We will benchmark every decision and every investment" against sustainability criteria, CEO Frank Mastiaux said in a press release. Climate neutrality is "currently at the top of the agenda for the German government and the European Commission and is increasingly being demanded by the capital market," EnBW said.

The company still runs 4.6 gigawatt (GW) of coal power but said it would withdraw 2.5 GW by 2030 and was "set to completely phase out coal-fired generation by 2035". By 2030, EnBW wants to halve emissions compared to 2018. "The company will simultaneously examine the possibility of a fuel switch – in other words, switching from coal to more climate-friendly gases in the first instance and then moving onto carbon-free green gases or hydrogen in the second stage," EnBW said. "We envisage a switch to hydrogen starting in 2035."

Germany has agreed to exit coal by 2038 at the latest to reach climate targets. But the EU Commission's proposal to step up the bloc's climate target to a 55 percent emission cut by 2030 will likely mean that Germany will have to effectively pull forward the phase-out, analysts have told Clean Energy Wire. German utility RWE, which operates lignite mines and is Europe's largest CO2 emitter, last year committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2040. Swedish utility Vattenfall plans to stop the use of fossil fuels including coal by 2030 and said last month it wanted to shut down its youngest and largest coal power station in Germany because it was unprofitable.

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