RWE, one of the big and established companies in the European energy generation sector, was among the signees of the recent petition claiming that power producers in Europe can't make enough profit anymore. Though there might be some truth in that, the whiny tone in that message clearly marked this as pure lobbyism in my eyes.
Now we hear something more substantial. RWE wants to reposition itself proactively, in order to generate the profits they think they should generate:
Now they want to “push Europe’s energy transition”. In their strategy paper, they talk about moving away from pure generation volumes or market percentages of generated electricity, towards “creating value”: “we will position ourselves as a project enabler, operator and system integrator of renewables.” So they want to sell expertise (consultants?) and make money by governing systems (e.g. be responsible for balancing), as they expect a “significantly higher level of regulation and administrative intervention” for the future.
So they have accepted that in one way or another, the energy world of tomorrow will be different. Everyone should appreciate that, as RWE sat there with their old business model like a giant turtle, blocking everyone's view.
The (to me) most interesting bit is their view on developments in market mechanisms. As I quoted above, they believe that there will be nessecarily more regulation (which is a direct consequence of renewables, one might say, as balancing becomes more tricky). They also believe that the current market mechanisms are going to be replaced soon:
“Last but not least: Currently, backup capacity is needed but not adequately remunerated. This is the result of an ultimate and irreversible distortion of the present market design. This situation will end at the end of this decade at the latest.”
Probably true. They don't say how they'd like to be paid for backup capacity (upfront or on delivery, which I find a highly interesting question). However, they have one reactive and one proactive answer to this observation:
- Less traditional generation capacity. RWE will be “scaling down and restructuring our portfolio to maximise its flexibility and efficiency.”
- Lobbying. RWE will “fight for the most reasonable market design” and “offer its expertise in order to contribute to the political opinion forming process”.