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Climate protection targets

EnBW secures SBTi seal of approval for climate targets with planned coal phase-out in 2028
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EnBW is accelerating its transformation path from a traditional energy group to a sustainable infrastructure partner. In addition to the exit from nuclear power in April, the company plans to completely phase out coal-fired power generation in as early as 2028, provided that the German government’s policy framework allows. Accelerating the coal phase-out pathway is part of EnBW’s climate targets, which have now been scientifically evaluated and validated by the globally recognized Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). This means that EnBW’s reduction targets are consistent with the Paris Climate Agreement. They cover EnBW’s entire value chain and all three emission categories (“scopes”).

The impacts of climate change are increasing dramatically all over the world. At the same time, the developments over the past year have made us acutely aware of the vulnerability of our energy supply. Accelerating the energy transition to zero-emission renewables has to be the top priority.

Andreas Schell, CEO

SBTi tightens EnBW climate targets

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The reduction path for the company’s own emissions (Scopes 1 and 2) corresponds to a 1.5 °C target. In concrete terms, this means that EnBW will reduce its carbon emissions in these Scopes by 83 percent by 2035 (based on the reference year of 2018). The remaining residual emissions will be offset using recognized carbon offset projects. Scope 3 emissions from the gas business (upstream and downstream emissions) will be reduced in the same period by 43 percent in comparison to the reference year of 2018. The seal of approval from the SBTi will help EnBW to align all of its decision-making processes to the targets of the Paris Agreement.

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SBTI-Scope-Grafik

Target of climate neutrality by 2035 confirmed due to more rapid achievement of intermediate targets

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By bringing forward the planned coal phase-out, EnBW is accelerating its path to climate neutrality in 2035. In this way, key milestones will be reached significantly earlier than previously planned.

Fuel switch projects ensure the security of supply in the future

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EnBW is taking responsibility for ensuring that there is enough disposable climate friendly energy to cover the demand for electricity and heating at all times, even in a future energy world based on renewable energies.

An important step towards reducing carbon emissions and guaranteeing security of supply consists of fuel switch projects, i.e. switching power and heat generation initially from coal to more climate-friendly natural gas and then, from the mid-2030s, to carbon-free green gases, including hydrogen. By implementing fuel switch projects, we can also retain existing power plant sites and offer immediate prospects at the same location for our employees, who have made an important contribution to security of supply over many years, and especially in recent months.

Dr. Georg Stamatelopoulos, Chief Operating Officer Sustainable Generation Infrastructure

Questions & Answers

SBTi validation

Who is the SBTi and what does it do?

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The Science Based Targets initiative is an independent initiative founded by four leading environmental and climate action organizations: WWF, CDP, the United Nations Global Compact and the World Resources Institute (WRI). It helps companies develop science based climate targets. Following completion of the SBTi process, a company has reduction targets that are consistent with the Paris Climate Agreement.

What has the SBTi validated for EnBW?

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EnBW’s Scope 1, 2 and 3 climate targets have been evaluated and validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). These are thus compatible with the requirements of the Paris Climate Agreement. EnBW completed the development and validation of its science based targets in February/March 2023.

For Scopes 1 and 2, the target level is consistent with a 1.5° C pathway.

Specifically, this means: EnBW will reduce its Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 83% by 2035 (base year 2018). The Scope 1 and 2 emissions that then remain will be neutralized using recognized carbon offset projects. Scope 3 emissions from gas activities (upstream and downstream emissions) will be reduced by 43% over the same period compared to the 2018 baseline.

How is the validation related to the coal phase-out?

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The most important step in achieving Scope 1 greenhouse gas reductions is EnBW’s planned early phase-out of coal. We are therefore planning to phase out coal by 2028, provided that the German government’s policy framework allows.

Climate neutrality

What does EnBW mean by climate neutrality and when will it be climate neutral?

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Our climate targets are defined by clear and scientifically validated reduction paths. Validation of the science based targets means that EnBW has a set of reduction targets that are consistent with the Paris Climate Agreement. This is our priority.

In the final step from 2035, we will become climate neutral. We will offset any remaining greenhouse gas emissions by supporting recognized climate change mitigation projects that meet the highest standards.

We already set ourselves a target of 2035 for Scope 1 and 2 climate neutrality in 2020. Our subsidiaries Energiedienst and Netze BW already achieved climate neutrality in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Planned coal phase-out

What do you mean when you say you are “phasing out” coal?

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Since 2012, we have reduced our portfolio by about 2,700 megawatts of carbon-intensive generating capacity. (Of these, 9 – effectively 10 – coal, gas, or oil-fired units totaling approximately 1,800 MW have been designated as reserve power plants and are no longer available to us for market use (9 owned power plants plus the large Mannheim 7 power plant)).

With clear milestones and in line with the 1.5 °C target, we plan to fully phase out our remaining coal-fired power plants by 2028, provided that the German government’s policy framework allows. These cover the expansion of renewable energies, the transmission and distribution grids and the gas infrastructure in Germany.

What will happen to EnBW’s coal-fired power plants?

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At three coal-fired sites (Heilbronn, Altbach/Deizisau, and Stuttgart-Münster), we have concrete plans to switch from coal to gas and, in the future, to green hydrogen. For the remaining sites, various regional options are available, including decommissioning, transfer to the grid reserve and fuel switch. In the case of jointly owned power plants, EnBW will enter into discussions with the respective partners and complete the coal phase-out in dialog with local stakeholders. After 2028, we plan to have no more coal-fired generation on the market.

Which preconditions have to be met in order to realize the coal phase-out by 2028?

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With the planned accelerated coal phase-out, EnBW wants to play its part in decarbonization and has formulated its ambition in clear terms. However, we have to acknowledge that we are one part of the energy transition. The German government’s plans, among other things for the expansion of renewable energies, the expansion of transmission and distribution systems and development of the necessary gas infrastructure in Germany, are needed as a key prerequisite for the achievement of our targets.

How many tons of carbon will be saved by the early coal phase-out?

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The coal phase-out is expected to result in emission reductions ranging from 10 to a maximum of 20 million tons per year. Over a 10-year period (between EnBW’s planned coal phase-out and the legally mandated coal phase-out), the savings amount to between 100 and 200 million tons of carbon. However, the exact amount will depend on future developments in the energy market, in particular gas, coal and carbon prices.

Security of supply

Is security of supply still guaranteed after EnBW’s early coal phase-out?

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The responsibility to deliver power and heat to our customers remains our top priority. This is why we are not only retiring power plants. We are also:

  1. Investing very heavily in renewables
  2. Pressing ahead with the addition of climate-friendly dispatchable capacity. We have already started fuel switch projects at three sites in Baden-Württemberg.
  3. Finally, the transmission system operators’ grid reserve safeguards system stability
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