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ENERGY

RWE CEO stepping down early

Jürgen Grossmann, who heads Germany's second largest power company, RWE, is to step down early and be replaced by Dutchman Peter Terium, the company said Monday.

RWE CEO stepping down early
Photo: DPA

The 59-year-old Grossmann, a strong advocate of nuclear energy, will hand over to Terium, 47, on July 1 next year.

Grossmann was originally due to retire at the end of September 2012. The company did not cite a reason for moving up his departure date.

Terium is currently the head of RWE’s Dutch and Belgian subsidiary Essent N.V.

RWE, along with competitor EON, is the largest operator of nuclear reactors in Germany and Grossmann was long considered the country’s main nuclear power advocate.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government decided in the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan in March to close for good all 17 of Germany’s nuclear reactors within 11 years.

“(Terium) will promote the further transformation of the company in a fast changing environment and will be able to lead the company to continued success in the future,” RWE supervisory board chairman Manfred Schneider said in a statement.

AFP/mdm

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ENERGY

Sweden to stop local governments blocking wind parks in final stages

Sweden's government has proposed a new law which will remove local municipalities' power to block wind parks in the final stages of the planning process, as part of a four-point plan to speed up the expansion of wind power.

Sweden to stop local governments blocking wind parks in final stages

“We are doing this to meet the increased need for electricity which is going to come as a result of our green industrial revolution,” Strandhäll said at a press conference. 

“It is important to strengthen Sweden by rapidly breaking our dependence on fossil fuels, building out our energy production and restructuring our industry. The Swedish people should not be dependent on countries like Russia to drive their cars or warm their homes.”

“We are going to make sure that municipalities who say “yes” to wind power get increased benefits,” she added in a press statement. “In addition, we are going to increase the speed with which wind power is built far offshore, which can generally neither be seen or heard from land.” 

While municipalities will retain a veto over wind power projects on their territory under the proposed new law, they will have to take their decision earlier in the planning process to prevent wind power developers wasting time and effort obtaining approvals only for the local government to block projects at the final stags. 

“For the local area, it’s mostly about making sure that those who feel that new wind parks noticeably affect their living environment also feel that they see positive impacts on their surroundings as a result of their establishment,” Strandhäll said.  “That might be a new sports field, an improved community hall, or other measures that might make live easier and better in places where wind power is established.” 

According to a report from the Swedish Energy Agency, about half of the wind projects planned since 2014 have managed to get approval. But in recent years opposition has been growing, with the opposition Moderate, Swedish Democrats, and Christian Democrat parties increasingly opposing projects at a municipal level. 

Municipalities frequently block wind park projects right at the end of the planning process following grassroots local campaigns. 

The government a month ago sent a committee report, or remiss, to the Council on Legislation, asking them to develop a law which will limit municipal vetoes to the early stages of the planning process. 

At the same time, the government is launching two inquiries. 

The first will look into what incentives could be given to municipalities to encourage them to allow wind farms on their land, which will deliver its recommendations at the end of March next year. In March, Strandhäll said that municipalities which approve wind farm projects should be given economic incentives to encourage them to accept projects on their land. 

The second will look into how to give the government more power over the approvals process for wind projects under Sweden’s environmental code. This will deliver its recommendations at the end of June next year. 

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