German utility E.ON as part of a wide-ranging asset and share swap deal has transferred its renewable generation portfolio to rival RWE, among them some of the world’s largest onshore and offshore wind assets.
“Our activities helped pave the way for the industrialization and cost reduction of renewable energy. Combined at RWE, E.ON and Innogy’s renewables businesses will be an attractive platform with lots of development potential,” E.ON chief executive Johannes Teyssen said.
The transaction marks the end of E.ON Climate & Renewables that had made industrial-scale renewables facilities a key focus of E.ON’s growth strategy.
“I’d like to thank our colleagues at E.ON Climate & Renewables led by Anja Dotzenrath for their outstanding work.”
Dotzenrath has been nominated to become CEO of the merged renewables unit of the new RWE, which will also include the green power assets of RWE renewables subsidiary Innogy that are slated to be transferred back to RWE early next year.
Among the 9GW of renewable projects E.ON has built or is building (6.8GW of completed projects had been consolidated by E.ON), is the 782MW Roscoe wind farm in Texas. At the time of its completion in 2009 Roscoe was the world’s largest onshore wind farm and today is still in fifth place, E.ON said.
In onshore, the utility is also transferring the 475MW Nysäter project in Sweden to RWE, which will be one of Europe’s largest onshore wind farms once it enters operation in 2021, featuring Nordex turbines.
Preparations are also under way to expand to Japan, Mexico, Chile, and Australia.
E.ON was one of the first companies in the world to embrace offshore wind power on a large scale, and participated in the construction of the 630MW London Array (E.ON has a 30% stake), which when completed in 2013 was the world’s largest offshore wind farm.
Last year E.ON commissioned the 385MW Arkona wind farm in the German Baltic Sea.
Adding E.ON’s offshore wind assets to those of Innogy, the new RWE will become the world’s second-largest operator of wind at sea – tracing only Denmark’s pacesetter Orsted.
The portfolio that E.ON transferred to RWE also includes battery and solar projects, and 1,500 former E.ON employees now work for RWE.
After the transaction, E.ON will focus on grids and consumer service activities, taking over the non-generation assets of Innogy. It will still be involved in renewables by connecting wind and solar projects to the energy system, and building small-scale residential solar or energy storage solutions.
The new RWE after also incorporating Innogy’s renewable generation assets back into its fold will become one of Europe’s largest producer of green energy, with more than 9GW in renewable generation capacity initially.
But the utility has been criticised for its intention to keep its massive fossil (coal, lignite and gas) assets at the same time and only aiming for a total decarbonisation by 2040.
“For a credible change of direction, RWE must do clearly more than just buy in renewable energies,” said Hubert Weiger, chairman of German nature conservationist umbrella group BUND.
“The corporation remains untrustworthy as long as it generates power from lignite at the same time, and its excavators continue unchecked towards the Hambach forest and villages."
The transaction marked the end of the E.ON Climate & Renewables unit that had made industrial-scale renewables facilities a key focus of E.ON’s growth strategy.