German E.ON Sets 2040 Carbon Neutrality Goal (Update)
(Adds comment on EU plan from US Clean Air Task Force)
German utility E.ON has set new targets for carbon reductions, it said in its response to the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen's state of the union address September 16.
E.ON intends to reduce the emissions that the company can directly influence and to become climate-neutral by 2040. E.ON will reduce its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 75% by 2030 and 100% by 2040 compared with 2019. E.ON intends to reduce its Scope 3 emissions by half by 2030 and completely by 2050.
E.ON told NGW that these are new targets and that CEO Johannes Teyssen was one of 170 European bosses that wrote to the EC September 15, urging a tightening of the goals for carbon neutrality. A spokesman said this was not only from an altruistic desire to make the world a better place, but it was good business too for the major European network operator. Every photovoltaic cell, every windfarm, needs a grid connection, he said. The more that E.ON can connect to networks, the bigger its earnings.
“We welcome Ursula von der Leyen's initiative to reduce greenhouse emissions within the EU by 55% by 2030. The EU is thus demonstrating its leading role within the international community and is clearly committed to the Paris Agreement in 2015,” Teyssen said September 16. With more than 1.5mn km of networks, E.ON is the backbone of this ambitious project and is already focusing on providing solutions for the decarbonisation of all sectors of the economy.
E.ON expects to make "innovative solutions" in the two business areas of energy networks and customer solutions. Energy networks are becoming increasingly intelligent and can thus integrate more energy from wind and sun.
Teyssen said: “We are convinced that sustainably managed companies make a relevant contribution to society and are more successful in the long term.”
Von der Leyen said that the new 2030 target for emission reduction would be at least 55%, up from 40%, and that the EC's impact assessment "clearly shows that our economy and industry can manage this." She said that meeting this target would put the EU firmly on track for climate neutrality by 2050 and for meeting Paris Agreement obligations. "And if others follow our lead, the world will be able to keep warming below 1.5 °C," she said.
While emissions dropped 25% since 1990, the EU economy grew by more than 60%, she said, and now there is more technology, more expertise and more investment. To allay any doubters, she said the Just Transition Fund would support "the regions that have a bigger and more costly change to make." That fund will be part-funded by the NextgenerationEU fund, whose €750 ($870)mn pot will be 30% funded by green bonds, she said.
But meeting this new target will also reduce EU energy import dependency, create millions of extra jobs and more than halve air pollution. "By next summer, we will revise all of our climate and energy legislation to make it “fit for 55”. This will involve a major change to the way "we produce and consume, live and work, eat and heat, travel and transport. So we will tackle everything from hazardous chemicals to deforestation to pollution."
Gas must become cleaner: CATF
Commenting on von der Leyen's speech, US lobby group Clean Air Task Force (CATF) said that the EU's "upcoming methane strategy will need to mirror today’s ambition and dramatically cut methane emissions, especially in the natural gas sector.” And it said the EC must also reduce methane emissions associated with imports from countries such as Russia, Qatar and Algeria. The methane strategy is due out this month.
CATF endorses the EU support for hydrogen, but that needs a supply of gas for decarbonising and consequent carbon capture and storage. This is still work in progress in the EU, as there is no value chain. CATF said it remains unclear how deployment of carbon capture and storage at scale "will be driven from a policy perspective. We suggest that, as a next step, the EU should move to develop specific policy mechanisms for carbon capture and carbon removal to incentivise energy-intensive industries to deploy carbon capture technologies today."