Essen (dpa) - At Germany's largest electricity producer, shareholders are pressing for a faster coal exit. "With CO2 emissions of almost 69 million tons in 2020, RWE is still an emissions heavyweight in Europe," criticized Vanessa Golz from the Sparkasse fund subsidiary Deka Investment in her contribution to the electricity supplier's online general meeting on Wednesday. "That is why it is necessary to accelerate the phase-out of lignite." Henrik Pontzen from the Union Investment fund company also called for more speed in converting electricity generation to renewable energies.

In front of the RWE headquarters in Essen, climate activists demonstrated against the electricity supplier's adherence to lignite. Last year, RWE still generated 79 percent of its electricity from coal, gas and uranium. This means that the group remains “a climate killer with worldwide consequences”, they accused the company. If the new CEO, Markus Krebber, wants to comply with the stricter EU climate target and meet the Paris climate protection target, he must liquidate the lignite division by 2030 at the latest, demanded the environmental organization Greenpeace.

The outgoing RWE CEO Rolf Martin Schmitz presented himself to the shareholders for the last time at the Annual General Meeting.

"We are working hard to make RWE more and more sustainable," he emphasized in his speech.

By swapping business areas with long-standing rival Eon, Schmitz had significantly expanded green electricity generation at RWE.

At the end of April, the previous CFO Krebber took over the helm at RWE.


Schmitz described reports that RWE could sell its fossil fuels or outsource them from the group as “pure speculation”.

The public law contract on the coal phase-out set “narrow limits for such measures”.

RWE will receive compensation of 2.6 billion euros for the premature shutdown of all lignite power plants by 2038.

Schmitz was confident that the EU Commission will wave this aid through in the ongoing investigation.

Several municipal and regional energy suppliers fear competitive advantages for RWE and have participated in the process with their own statements, as Krebber confirmed.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210428-99-386306 / 2

General meeting documents