RWE's Carbon Capture projects - Our decarbonisation journey

RWE’s journey to decarbonisation

As one of the world’s leading suppliers of renewables, RWE has a clear plan - ‘Growing Green.’ As part of this, we have an ambition to invest up to £15 billion in new clean technologies and infrastructure in the UK by 2030.

RWE currently operates approximately 7 GW of conventional, efficient gas-fired capacity in the UK. We believe this firm and flexible power remains an essential part of our country’s energy mix, now and in the future. We also recognise the need to decarbonise our gas fleet, and will ensure that our UK gas fleet operations transition to support the UK's decarbonisation targets whilst continuing to maintain security of supply. We are therefore considering carbon capture projects to provide a decarbonised future for a number of our existing gas-fired power stations, and a new-build carbon-capture enabled power station.

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Our decarbonisation vision and renewable energy investment

Closing our last UK coal plant in 2020

Closed our last UK coal plant in 2020

Operating around 7 GW of modern and efficient gas-fired capacity in the UK

Operating around 7 GW of modern and efficient gas-fired capacity in the UK

Becoming a leading renewable power operator

Becoming a leading renewable power operator, with a total combined installed capacity of more than 4.8* GW

Cutting the carbon intensity of our UK energy generation by 43% since 2012

Cutting the carbon intensity of our UK energy generation by 43% since 2012

We are producing enough energy for around 10 million homes
We are producing enough energy for around 10 million homes

We are one of the UK’s largest power generators, producing enough energy for around 10 million homes

*RWE’s pro rata equity share capacity 2.79 GW.

Why gas is essential to the transition to net zero

RWE is the UK’s largest operator of efficient gas-fired power stations, with around 7GW of installed capacity, powering millions of UK homes.

Our gas fired power stations play a critical role in the UK’s energy system and are essential in the UK's transition to a decarbonised energy system. Efficient gas-fired power stations support the transition to renewables by providing a firm and flexible source of power all year round especially on days where sun and wind resources are lower. They work in partnership with renewables to ensure security of energy supply.

The role gas has played in the UK’s power system has evolved over time. As coal power stations have shut down, gas has played an increasingly central role, providing around 40% of the UK’s power in 2022 (UK energy brief) and up to 50% at certain times.

Pembroke CCGT | RWE

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As the UK’s power system continues to transition towards a majority renewables mix, the role gas plays will also evolve, towards an increasingly supportive and complimentary role to clean energy generation. In the future, gas power will operate in partnership with renewables to ensure security of supply, including during periods of low renewable generation and periods of peak demand.

Decarbonising our fleet

The next few decades will be pivotal to changing the way we create and consume energy. RWE is working towards a target of carbon neutrality by 2040. Our decarbonisation programme is crucial to this achieving this target.

The timeline outlines the steps we will take to decarbonise our gas-fired fleet.

Over the next three years, we will be investing in carbon capture technology and hydrogen combustion projects, to assess how these cutting-edge technologies can decarbonise our gas-fired power stations. Our target is for the first of our fleet to be converted and running a decarbonised operation before 2030.

Timeline for decarbonising our fleet | RWE

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Our carbon capture technology plan

RWE is currently considering three potential carbon capture projects across the UK. We are looking at carbon capture technology as a viable way to decarbonise our gas plants which are located within the vicinity of proposed CO2 networks or shipping facilities, where the CO2 could be transferred to safe storage solutions.

RWE is currently progressing early development work and preparing information that will allow for existing plants at Staythorpe and Pembroke, and a new build Combined Cycle Gas Turbine power station (CCGT) near the Humber, to be submitted into the next stage of the Government’s Track-2 Phase-2 of the Cluster Sequencing for Carbon Capture Usage and Storage Deployment process.

Environmental studies and surveys needed to support the consenting process are already progressing.

RWE's carbon capture technology plan

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Together, these three projects would enable:

Approx. 00 GW

of secure, flexible, low carbon energy – enough to power around 8.1 million homes

00 Mt/year

of CO₂ capture, the equivalent of removing 2.2 million petrol cars from the road

00 +

Support and create 300+ high quality, long-term operational jobs and thousands of jobs during construction and in the supply chain

Carbon capture projects

* Calculated based on 2022 generation, and assuming average (mean) annual household consumption of 3,509kWh, based on 2021 statistics from The Department of Energy Security and Net Zero.

UK Government support for low carbon firm and flexible technologies

How does carbon capture work?

Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage | RWE
Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage | RWE

Carbon capture is a decarbonisation technology which captures the CO2 emissions from a variety of fossil fuel combustion processes such as cement and steel production and power generation. A summary of the process is as follows: 

  1. CO2 Emissions: Carbon dioxide emissions are produced during the generation of power a Combined-Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) power station.  
  2. Capture: CO2 is captured from the flue gas using post-combustion capture technology. This typically involves the cooling of the flue gas which is then mixed with a amine based solvent which separates the CO2 from the flue gas. The decarbonised flue gas is then emitted from the power station flue.
  3. Transportation: The captured CO2 is conditioned for removal from site, which is either via new pipelines or ships. 
  4. Utilisation: Where possible, captured CO2 can be utilised in industrial and manufacturing processes, such as the production of beer
  5. Storage: CO2 is stored underground safely and securely within depleted gas and oil wells, preventing it from being released into the atmosphere. 
RWE is a member of the CCS Association, the trade association promoting the commercial deployment of Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage. To find out more about these processes and the technology behind them visit the website website.

RWE’s Hydrogen ambitions

Hydrogen | RWE
Hydrogen | RWE

Hydrogen production facilities will require investment for construction and operation and to bridge the funding gap between this and existing use of natural gas.

We will apply for financial support from the UK Government’s Net Zero Hydrogen Fund to help with the costs of developing and implementing our green hydrogen projects.

Find out more about our UK Hydrogen ambitions and plans at our low carbon hub in South Wales Pembroke Net Zero Centre (PNZC) look here.

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Windmill Hill Business Park
Whitehill Way
SN5 6PB Swindon
United Kingdom