Climate change is arguably one of the most urgent challenges facing our planet. Decarbonisation calls for a comprehensive structural transformation cutting across all sectors of the economy, all of society and almost all areas of life. This also determines the way forward for EnBW in its business activities.
EnBW is committed to actively supporting the Paris Climate Agreement and the resulting decarbonisation targets for the EU and Germany. Achieving the German climate protection targets involves all stages of the electricity and gas value chains in which EnBW is active, from switching generation away from fossil fuels and towards renewable sources such as wind and solar power to expansion of the grid infrastructure, and all the way through to customer-focused areas such as energy efficiency, e-mobility and energy services for households.
In 2013, we began a process of systematically transforming and realigning our portfolio, with a corporate strategy increasingly focused on sustainability. Even before the German Coal Phase-out Act, we voluntarily parted with about 40 % of our carbon-intensive generating capacity, for both environmental and economic reasons. We have transformed a power plant portfolio that previously consisted mainly of conventional generation into a portfolio that is already planned to consist of equal shares of thermal and renewable generating capacity by 2025.
Transformation of the EnBW generation portfolio
Installed output in %*
*Source: Integrated annual report 2020
Climate neutrality no later than 2035
Continuing our sustainability program from 2020 marks the next step in our corporate strategy, which has increased the focus on sustainability since 2013. We have set ourselves the goal of climate neutrality by 2035 at the latest. By this we mean net neutrality in relation to our Scope 1 and 2 emissions. We base this on a residual budget of 150 megatons, which follows from the definition of the German Advisory Council on the Environment for achieving climate neutrality in accordance with the requirements of the Paris Climate Agreement. A major milestone on this path will be halving our carbon emissions by 2030. Some Group companies, such as Energiedienst, have already been climate-neutral since 2020. In 2021, Netze BW plans to become one of the first distribution grid operators in Germany to achieve climate neutrality.
Our path to climate neutrality
EnBW’s 2035 climate neutrality target in relation to Scope 1 and 2 is in line with the requirements and targets in the Paris Climate Agreement. In order to achieve net zero emissions by 2035 and the interim target of a 50 % emission reduction by 2030 (relative to the 2018 baseline), we have adopted a package of various climate action measures.
¹ The EnBW climate neutrality target refers to our own emissions (Scope 1 and 2). Scope 3 is mainly influenced by the gas consumption of our customers and would require the use of climate-neutral gases in the future. The target refers to CO₂eq (CO₂, CH₄, N₂O and SF₆). The reference year is 2018.
² Includes in part the offsetting of remaining residual emissions due to the acquisition of recognized compensation certificates.
Coal phase-out / fuel switch:
Today, we have 4.6 gigawatts of coal-fired generating capacity. We will gradually remove these power plants from the market. By 2030, only the newest are to be still in operation and we will have shut down coal-fired power plants with a capacity of 2.5 gigawatts. Closure of the remaining 2.1 gigawatts will complete the coal phase-out by 2035. For some plants, we are looking into switching to more climate-friendly gases or biomass. A fuel switch enables immediate cuts in carbon emissions while safeguarding security of supply. In addition, fuel switching is important in terms of retaining locations and jobs.
Climate-neutral gases and hydrogen:
While the fuel switch will initially be to more climate-friendly natural gas, in a second stage we plan a changeover to climate-neutral gases such as biogas or hydrogen. We expect green hydrogen to be widely available so that we can switch to that from the mid-2030s.
Use of green power:
Purchases of green energy will primarily be relevant to us for covering grid losses in Scope 2.
While we generally prioritise emission reductions over offsetting, we plan to offset unavoidable residual emissions by acquiring recognised offsetting certificates.
In addition, we plan an action package to avoid relatively small-scale emissions (such as canteen and building emissions). Relatively speaking, however, these account for only around 2 % of total emissions at EnBW.