20 years of E.ON: From a conglomerate to the backbone of the energy transition in Europe
The E.ON Group turns 20 years old this year. The company, which was formed in June 2000 from the merger of the two large conglomerates, VEBA and VIAG, is now one of the world's largest private energy companies, with a clear focus on shaping the sustainable energy world of tomorrow. Following fundamental changes in the energy industry in recent decades and the successful acquisition of innogy, E.ON is now focused entirely on network infrastructure and customer solutions. With over 1.5 million kilometers of grid, E.ON is the largest distribution network operator in Europe and has become the decisive lifeline of the green energy revolution on the continent. Following the acquisition of innogy, which was finally completed in June 2020, the Group now employs around 75,000 people in 15 countries.
Johannes Teyssen, CEO of E.ON, said: “In the past 20 years, it’s not only the energy market as a whole that has changed dramatically. Our company has also reinvented itself again and again. For E.ON, this anniversary marks the completion of fundamental corporate restructuring and, at the same time, the beginning of a new era. Energy supply will be CO2-free, and our position with network infrastructure and customer solutions – together with our 50 million customers – makes us an active player in tackling climate change.”
When E.ON was founded 20 years ago, the company's current position was not yet foreseeable. The focus at that time was clearly on generating conventional energy. The consolidation and simultaneous expansion in the energy industry was initially followed by billions in profits. But times changed and brought about significant changes at E.ON: The strong growth of renewables, the end of nuclear power after Fukushima, and losses from the conventional power plant business led to the spin-off of coal and gas generation and trading operations in Uniper in 2016. Just two years later, E.ON surprised the German economy with the announced takeover of its largest competitor at the time, RWE subsidiary innogy, as part of a far-reaching reorganization of the activities between RWE and E.ON. In the course of the transaction, one of the largest of its kind in German post-war history, E.ON transferred its renewable generation to RWE and has since then focused on two main pillars of the energy turnaround: Energy networks and customer solutions. As Europe's largest distribution network operator, E.ON is now driving the green transformation in the energy sector. Its products and customer solutions make an important contribution to the green electrification of living, mobility and work.
In the book „Changing Energy – wie sich der E.ON-Konzern neu erfindet“ which is being published to mark the anniversary, a team of authors led by economic journalist Hans-Willy Bein offers an exclusive look behind the scenes of this extraordinary chapter of German industrial history. As a former Düsseldorf correspondent for the Süddeutsche Zeitung and freelance journalist, Bein has accompanied E.ON from its founding to the present day. The publication is therefore not a classic chronicle or historical-scientific thesis, but a store of memories shaped by contemporary observers and a vital presentation of the development of the E.ON Group. In an entertaining and interesting way, it sheds light on E.ON's transformation from a pure power plant operator to one of the leading figures in Europe's green energy revolution, which stands as a prototype for the transformation of the energy world.
"I am very pleased about this very special birthday present to our company," said CEO Teyssen. "This book contains a lot of background information and personal insights into decisions that have shaped E.ON over the last 20 years. It shows with how much enthusiasm and commitment many of our fellows and friends have accompanied E.ON.”