RWE wants to clean up its act

FOR 120 years RWE has been one of Europe’s biggest emitters of carbon dioxide. The German utility cleared almost all of Hambacher forest, a once-vast wood in western Germany, to mine lignite, an especially filthy fossil fuel, which it burned to generate electricity. What is left of “Hambi” has become a symbol of the anti-coal movement, occupied by activists camping in 80-odd tree houses. Greta Thunberg, a star teenage carbon critic, paid them a visit in August. RWE is under fire even where it does not operate. A Peruvian farmer has sued it in a German court for its contribution to climate change that led to the melting of an Andean glacier, which threatens to flood his home. He lost but is appealing.

RWE’s ongoing battle with environmentalists, who have pelted its workers with stones and excrement, may soon be over. Or so hopes its boss, Rolf Martin Schmitz. In September the EU agreed to a €43bn ($47.5bn) asset swap between RWE and its rival E.ON. It turns E.ON into Europe’s largest power-grid operator by assets and RWE into the world’s second-biggest producer of offshore wind power and Europe’s third-biggest producer of renewable energy. Since then Mr Schmitz has promoted “the new RWE”. A glossy brochure proclaims a vow to become carbon neutral by 2040.

Sam Arie at UBS, a Swiss bank, sees promise in RWE Renewables...

via Business Feeds

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