Innogy, the renewables arm of ailing German utility RWE, has embraced a significantly altered business model that will in future see it rely more on partnerships and new revenue streams, including maintaining wind farms owned by other companies.
broader “streamlining” of the company’s business, it will also change the name
of npower renewables – its UK subsidiary – to Innogy UK.
change is “about clarity and focus”, rather than any negative connotations the
word “npower” might conjure in the public’s mind after months of bad publicity
for the UK’s electricity utilities, says Julia Lynch Williams, managing
director for Innogy UK.
past two months RWE abandoned its plans for its 1.2GW Round 3 Atlantic Array
offshore wind farm; shrank its Triton Knoll and Galloper projects; saw its
proposed Nun Wood onshore wind project rejected by the UK’s Secretary of State
for Communities; and announced a major staff reduction at Innogy.
Coffey, Innogy’s chief operating officer, insists that “renewables is still of
strong interest for RWE”.
growth business for us – in fact it’s one of the most significant growth
businesses for the group going forward.”
change Innogy is undertaking across Europe is a shift from the
build-own-operate model it embraced upon its establishment six years ago to
something more akin to a project developer.
to be a company that wanted to own 100% of pretty much everything it was
involved in,” says Coffey. “Or at the very least the majority owner so we’d
don’t think those ambitions are especially realistic going forward,” he says.
“We need to make our money go further. So we’ll be changing that position to
allow other investors to come in and join us.”
investors will include other utilities, green-minded municipalities, and even
RWE’s own employees in some cases.
learned a lot in recent years about the difficulties of bringing people on to
share projects with us, and we think we’ve developed some good and helpful
approaches to make that more successful,” Coffey says.
big change, Innogy also intends to become a significant provider of services to
the European renewables sector.
“outstanding” O&M operations the company has built up, particularly in the
UK, would in the past have been used exclusively in-house.
we want to offer those services to the market,” says Coffey.