E.ON sees energy plan as an important step for Germany’s energy future

  • Success depends on a global climate protection agreement, a European energy market with consistent energy policy and expansion of power networks
  • E.ON to halve CO2 emissions per kilowatt-hour of power generated by 2030 and continue with its ambitious expansion of renewable energy

E.ON sees the German Government’s energy plan as an important step for Germany’s energy future. As the first European nation, the German Government presented a framework which will transform energy supplies over the next few decades and supports a European low-carbon economy, which looks to avoid 80 to 95 percent of greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of this century. "The energy plan outlines a step-by-step transition from today’s mainly fossil-fuelled energy supply to a low-carbon future, based mainly on renewables. This is extremely ambitious and the German Government has rightly pointed out that this can only be achieved with a stable global and European framework," said Johannes Teyssen, Chairman of the Board of Management of E.ON.

The bold concept calls for broad political and social consensus. "Politicians will need to clearly explain why Germany’s energy infrastructure, especially the power and gas grids, will need to be modernized, transformed and significantly expanded," said Teyssen. He believes that the immediate action plan proposed by the German Government is a key step in the right direction.

Openness and transparency on costs is also important. "Changing our energy model will not take place automatically and it will not be free of charge," Teyssen stressed. "In addition, the energy transformation must not lead to a relocation of jobs and production away from Germany. Many people envy us for our strong industrial and commercial base which includes large industrial organizations and strong medium-sized companies. Energy efficiency must not be achieved by allowing these companies to leave Germany."

Teyssen said that a new pioneering spirit would also be needed. The energy plan has the potential to make Germany a European or even a global pioneer in terms of energy efficiency and climate protection. "So far, we have more projects that have been prevented than implemented. If this trend continues, we will not succeed in transforming our energy system and achieving a low-carbon tomorrow. We need the courage to accept new solutions and new and innovative technologies. Therefore, we welcome the Government’s initiative to secure greater transparency and acceptance for infrastructure projects, and we will support it to the best of our abilities. Projects that are ecologically and economically necessary, such as E.ON’s innovative power plant at Datteln, must not be allowed to fail as a result of individual interests, to the detriment of the country as a whole," Teyssen stated.

E.ON plans to play its role and make a key contribution to the implementation of the energy plan. Especially it will support the modernization of conventional power plants, the expansion of renewable energies, and research and development work related to energy efficiency. The expansion of renewable energy already accounts for a quarter of all new project investments made by E.ON. By 2030, E.ON intends almost to triple the share of renewable energies in its power generation portfolio. Over the same period, the carbon dioxide emissions of E.ON power plants are to be halved, compared with 1990 levels.

The Chairman of the E.ON Board of Management welcomed the fact that the energy plan was generally open to diverse fuels and technologies, and was embedded in a global and European framework. He stressed that the intended fundamental transformation of European energy supplies could only be implemented successfully at reasonable cost if we exploited the strengths of each region and do not pursue national interests.

"Furthermore, the future projections on which the plan is based significantly underestimates the role of natural gas," Teyssen objected, adding that this not only applied to heating but also to advanced gas-fired power plants and natural gas vehicles. There is scarcely any energy source so well positioned to keep a balance between reliability, economics and environmental, and climate protection as natural gas. He noted that it had proved possible to access considerable natural gas reserves at lower cost in recent years and that it was therefore necessary to reconsider earlier German concerns about dependence on imports. The significance of natural gas in the German energy mix will not decline, but continue to grow over the coming decades.

In the view of E.ON, the energy plan rightly recognizes the growing importance of electric power for modernization. Electromobility, geothermal heat pumps and the increased use of electricity for the more efficient control of industrial production processes will make a key contribution to climate protection.

The laws and regulations concerning the continued operation of nuclear power plants in Germany are also a significant part of the energy plan. The state will collect significantly more than half of the additional profit from longer service lives. The Government has also called for additional requirements for the retrofitting of nuclear plants. This will pose a considerable challenge for nuclear operators. In the interest of an energy consensus, E.ON and the other operators have accepted these government demands and support the establishment of a fund to develop innovative energy technologies. The company sees the fund, which will reach a considerable amount, as a significant motor for economic growth which will have a positive impact for several decades.

In E.ON’s view, it is the joint task of politicians and the energy companies concerned to explain the energy supply, environmental and economic benefits of the continued nuclear operation to the public. The company is prepared to play a key role in this process and will strengthen the dialogue on nuclear power and its role in the energy mix in the future. A number of objections raised in the controversial debate conducted over the past few weeks have already been refuted. Germany has the world’s safest, most efficient and highest-performance nuclear power plants. These could react flexibly to the growing availability of power from renewable sources. This in turn will help to make climate protection affordable for German electricity customers.

"Now is the time to conduct an open, broad-based public debate on the energy plan - the greenest in Germany’s history. However, we should not focus our attention on the extension of nuclear power plants as a transitional solution. On the contrary, we need a wide debate that looks at how we can adopt the full, low-carbon energy plan. At E.ON, we are happy to make an active contribution both to the debate and to the transformation of German and European energy supplies. In doing so, we will always keep in mind the interests of our customers and Germany’s economic future,” said Teyssen.

This press release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by E.ON Group management and other information currently available to E.ON. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. E.ON AG does not intend, and does not assume any liability whatsoever, to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.