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Greentech Media:

Two of Europe’s major utilities have demonstrated the signs of a post-coronavirus lockdown recovery, highlighted by growing renewables capacities. EDF and RWE both reported their Q3 results at the end of last week. While COVID-19 lockdowns have trimmed demand for electricity over the period, sustained renewables deployment and the associated revenue were bright spots for both companies.

RWE said it expected to complete 800 megawatts of wind and solar deployments in Q4, on top of the 500 MW already commissioned. It expects its wind and solar capacity to reach 10 gigawatts by the end of the year, on its way to a 13 GW target by 2022.

The changing generation mix of the German company has been laid bare in the first nine months of 2020. The combined output of the firm’s lignite and hard coal plants is down by more than one-third in the first nine months of 2020 compared to the same period last year. The output from wind and solar, meanwhile, nearly tripled from 6.1 billion kilowatt-hours to 17.1 billion kilowatt-hours. In revenue terms, the company made €1.6 billion ($1.9 billion) of revenue from its wind and solar assets in the first nine months (9M) of 2020 compared to €743 million ($879 million) in the first nine months of last year.

EDF posted a decrease in sales of 4 percent to €48.8 billion ($57.8 billion) for 9M 2020 compared to €51.0 billion in 9M 2019. According to EDF, sales would have been “almost stable” if the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic are accounted for.

As with RWE, renewables offered some welcome good news. The company is currently targeting a total renewables portfolio of 50 GW by 2030. In February, Jean-Bernard Lévy, EDF’s chairman and CEO, said it would revisit that target because “it really looks like we are going to exceed it, and by quite a significant gap.”

EDF, which is majority-owned by the French government, has amassed a global portfolio of 32.5 GW of renewables, including 9.8 GW of wind and solar and 22.3 GW of hydropower. According to figures released alongside its Q3 results, the current wind and solar pipeline totals 39.1 GW, with 14.2 GW in North America and 15.4 GW in Europe. It is widely expected that solar and wind will provide the majority of the remaining capacity.

[John Parnell]

More: Renewables buoy RWE and EDT as clean energy outlook brightens

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