As the debate in Germany continues over its nuclear phase-out policy, utility RWE has introduced a new zero-carbon energy purchasing scheme which will allow its customers to specify that they wish to buy electricity mainly from nuclear power plants.
|RWE's Biblis plant (Image: Areva)
The scheme, called ProClimate Power 2011
, will provide customers with electricity primarily generated by nuclear power plants (some 68%), with the remainder coming from renewable energy sources, mainly hydroelectricity. RWE said that proof of origin certificates for the hydro and nuclear power will be issued by an independent auditor.
Although slightly more expensive than traditional energy purchasing schemes, RWE says that an added incentive to join the scheme is that the price of electricity will remain unchanged until the end of 2011, apart from any changes in taxes.
RWE spokesman Sebastian Ackermann told Spiegel Online, "People are accepting nuclear energy." He added, "While we understand that some oppose it, a huge demand exists for the clean, low-cost energy that comes from nuclear power."
In a statement, RWE said, "As the name suggests, RWE ProClimate Power 2011 makes a key contribution to climate protection. What renewables and nuclear power have in common is the fact that the electricity they generate produces next to no emissions."
The company added, "Nuclear energy alone helps Germany avoid around 150 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. By way of comparison, German road traffic produces some 160 million tonnes of CO2 every year."
The ProClimate Power 2011 scheme will be marketed via television, radio, print and online media, RWE said.
RWE has an installed and operational nuclear power plant capacity of some 5700 MWe at Biblis as well as Lingen and Gundremmingen, where it has an 87.5% and 75% holding, respectively.
RWE is not the first energy supplier to introduce such an energy purchasing scheme. In January, Finnish utility Fortum said it was introducing two new eco-labels for electricity sold to business customers in Finland and Sweden. Its Fortum Carbon Free eco-label would be used to identify electricity produced without CO2 emissions in the generation stage. Meanwhile, its Fortum Renewable label would be used for electricity produced exclusively from renewable energy sources.