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Climate warning

Germany: RWE boss rejects coal criticism - out of sync with the climate change

At RWE there are no shades of gray for many people, only black - or red. When RWE is successful, many people's hearts beat faster. Because the North Rhine-Westphalian energy group is a symbol in Germany for the coal business, the destruction of nature and the environment and climate change. Katja Wunschel sees it differently. Lignite mining was just as much a political decision as nuclear power, says the head of RWE Renewables Europe and Australia in ntv's "Climate Laboratory". In the meantime, however, RWE is well on the way to becoming a green company: "We are investing 15 billion euros in green technologies in Germany by 2030, and 50 billion euros worldwide. This is our contribution to climate protection," says Wunschel in an interview. And in the eyes of the CEO, not only RWE is making amazing progress in this transformation: "I've been working in the field of renewables for about 15 years and when I look back at this time, I have reason to be optimistic," she says. Because approvals that you would otherwise have waited two years for would suddenly come after twelve months. "We see that in other countries too." When RWE raised its profit forecast, there was a storm of indignation. It was said, for example, that every single cent should be socialized, or that inflation and the climate crisis could also be cool. Do you feel treated unfairly? Katja Wunschel: I know such tweets, but that doesn't match my perception. I am also very active on social media, particularly on LinkedIn. When I post our projects, activities or our contribution to the expansion of renewable energies there, the reactions are consistently positive. We are also looking for many new colleagues because we want to implement many more projects. Their feedback is also positive. *Data protection They also want a job at RWE. That's a great company too. But this feedback affects the renewable projects. RWE continues to mine lignite and stands for the clearing of the Hambach Forest. If you look at our earnings and the preliminary business outlook, you can see that only 10 percent of our profits come from coal and nuclear. Our figures confirm that RWE is transforming itself into a green group and investing significantly in new technologies. 90 percent of our investments go into renewable projects. That's the accusation: you played a key role in leading us into this crisis with lignite mining and are now benefiting from the turnaround and the renewable business. Producing electricity from lignite and nuclear energy were political decisions. Now, after nuclear energy, we are also phasing out coal, and we at RWE are the only company that has said: we will do this early by 2030. So when there are protests that are explicitly aimed at RWE, don't you feel addressed? I feel addressed by the task of expanding renewable energies. This is my contribution: How can I implement more projects faster in the eleven countries that I look after? Because we need more renewable energy on the grid. RWE gives me the support for this. We are investing 15 billion euros in green technologies in Germany by 2030, and 50 billion euros worldwide. This is our contribution to climate protection: If we switch on renewable energies, we can switch off coal. The faster we can do this, the sooner we can create the green transformation that we need in Europe, the world and Germany. Why does only a third of the sum end up in Germany? Where can I find the climate laboratory? As with any large corporation, our growth portfolio is very diversified. We have different technologies and different countries and we have to look very carefully at where we can invest. That has a lot to do with regulation, because we need space and projects so that we can ultimately build. Is regulation the reason why RWE in Germany - as of June 2023 - only has a solar capacity of 26 megawatts, while in the USA it is a multiple of 3090 megawatts? In Germany, we have previously focused primarily on onshore wind...

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