Interview: Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, CEO, RWE Renewables

As CEO of RWE Renewables, Dotzenrath has overseen the emergence of the company as a major player in the worldwide renewable energy market with a project pipeline of more than 30GW.

Ben Cook
April 8, 2021
Interview: Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, CEO, RWE Renewables

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, CEO, RWE Renewables

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath is one of the most powerful people in the global renewable energy industry.

As CEO of RWE Renewables, Dotzenrath has overseen the emergence of the company as a major player in the worldwide renewable energy market with a project pipeline of more than 30GW.

In an exclusive interview with A Word About Wind, Dotzenrath assesses the impact of last year’s E.ON deal, the Biden presidency in the US, and the continuing challenges facing the industry.

Last year RWE completed a major asset swap with E.ON, resulting in RWE taking over the Innogy and E.ON renewable activities. How has this impacted on RWE since and what opportunities and challenges has it presented?

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath: With this transaction RWE became a global renewables player in one fell swoop with a new core business centered around supplying green electricity. We want continuous growth in Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific by investing heavily in renewables. We are also entering the green hydrogen production market at full speed. We are consistently and responsibly withdrawing from fossil energy sources to become carbon neutral by 2040.

What do you currently see as the biggest opportunities for RWE Renewables?

AD: The conversion of the global energy system is key to a sustainable future. Countless possible pathways exist, yet all have one aspect in common: The power sector will become the central switchboard. Take the EU, it meets 75 percent of its primary energy demand with fossil fuels. By 2050 roughly that same share will be satisfied by renewable power. Seventy-five percent of renewable energy will be used directly as electricity in the power sector, in the transport sector and in the building sector. Another 25 percent will be converted into green hydrogen to replace fossil fuels in hard-to-abate sectors such as steel production, long-haul trucking, aviation and shipping. If you translate this into renewable capacity, it means that, in the EU, yearly wind capacity needs to double from 15 GW to 30 GW per year. And solar capacity needs to more than double from 20 GW to 50 GW. We are spanning all relevant technologies: offshore and onshore wind, photovoltaics, and battery storage. Our solid financial strength and renewables project pipeline of more than 30 GW gives us good optionality for growth. And we are at the forefront in developing new technologies such as floating offshore wind and green hydrogen.

What are currently the major growth areas for RWE Renewables?

AD: In the last year we have outlined our growth ambition for every technology – onshore and offshore wind as well as solar and battery storage. In the period from 2020 till the end of 2022, we aim to expand our renewables portfolio to a net capacity of more than 13 GW, involving an investment of €5 billion net - together with partners, the gross investment volume may be as high as €9 billion. We want to hold sizeable positions in every market we operate in to realize economies of scale.

US President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order with the aim of doubling offshore wind power generation in US federal waters by 2030. Will this lead to a significant increase in RWE business in the US?

AD: That President Biden has signed on his first day in office a decree to rejoin the global climate agreement is a fantastic sign. It underpins that the US will continue to further grow in renewable energy. RWE’s installed capacity in the US accounts for one-third of our total capacity in the area of renewables. And we want to continue to expand into building on a strong development pipeline. The Biden Administration’s pledge to increase the development of offshore wind coupled with the new 30 percent offshore wind tax credit further underpins RWE’s commitment to the US market.

What will be the emerging trends in wind power in the coming year?

AD: Floating wind is definitely one. As the technology develops, the industry will bring costs down further. We are working on promising technical concepts in three floating demonstration projects in Norway, Spain and the US and are prepared for the first commercial floating offshore wind projects. Key requirements are learning more about mooring systems, fabrication, assembly and logistics, as well as installation and operation, to bring down costs further. Based on realistic levels of global deployment, we expect floating wind to be cost-competitive with seabed-fixed offshore wind farms by 2030. The production of green hydrogen is also important. In hard-to-electrify sectors hydrogen is needed for decarbonization.

What are the biggest challenges wind power companies face?

AD: Despite cost declines, wind projects increasingly face permitting and social acceptance challenges, policy uncertainties and grid integration problems. In Europe, higher targets and a robust policy framework including rapid expansion of competitive auctions are needed. In the US, faster growth of wind requires the extension of tax incentives, higher state RPS targets and investments in grid infrastructure. In the ASEAN region regulatory uncertainties, off-taker risks and grid connection challenges need to be addressed.

If you could make one change that would make a significant contribution to the wider adoption of wind power, what would it be?

AD: The fight against climate change is a global challenge. It is good that many countries have set out to further advance and accelerate the expansion of renewable energies. Even better would be clear roadmaps – including binding renewables build out targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050 – so that capital-intensive investments, for example in grids and port infrastructure and supply chain requirements, can be reliably planned and executed.

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath appears in the European Power List 2021. To download your copy, click here.

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath is one of the most powerful people in the global renewable energy industry.

As CEO of RWE Renewables, Dotzenrath has overseen the emergence of the company as a major player in the worldwide renewable energy market with a project pipeline of more than 30GW.

In an exclusive interview with A Word About Wind, Dotzenrath assesses the impact of last year’s E.ON deal, the Biden presidency in the US, and the continuing challenges facing the industry.

Last year RWE completed a major asset swap with E.ON, resulting in RWE taking over the Innogy and E.ON renewable activities. How has this impacted on RWE since and what opportunities and challenges has it presented?

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath: With this transaction RWE became a global renewables player in one fell swoop with a new core business centered around supplying green electricity. We want continuous growth in Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific by investing heavily in renewables. We are also entering the green hydrogen production market at full speed. We are consistently and responsibly withdrawing from fossil energy sources to become carbon neutral by 2040.

What do you currently see as the biggest opportunities for RWE Renewables?

AD: The conversion of the global energy system is key to a sustainable future. Countless possible pathways exist, yet all have one aspect in common: The power sector will become the central switchboard. Take the EU, it meets 75 percent of its primary energy demand with fossil fuels. By 2050 roughly that same share will be satisfied by renewable power. Seventy-five percent of renewable energy will be used directly as electricity in the power sector, in the transport sector and in the building sector. Another 25 percent will be converted into green hydrogen to replace fossil fuels in hard-to-abate sectors such as steel production, long-haul trucking, aviation and shipping. If you translate this into renewable capacity, it means that, in the EU, yearly wind capacity needs to double from 15 GW to 30 GW per year. And solar capacity needs to more than double from 20 GW to 50 GW. We are spanning all relevant technologies: offshore and onshore wind, photovoltaics, and battery storage. Our solid financial strength and renewables project pipeline of more than 30 GW gives us good optionality for growth. And we are at the forefront in developing new technologies such as floating offshore wind and green hydrogen.

What are currently the major growth areas for RWE Renewables?

AD: In the last year we have outlined our growth ambition for every technology – onshore and offshore wind as well as solar and battery storage. In the period from 2020 till the end of 2022, we aim to expand our renewables portfolio to a net capacity of more than 13 GW, involving an investment of €5 billion net - together with partners, the gross investment volume may be as high as €9 billion. We want to hold sizeable positions in every market we operate in to realize economies of scale.

US President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order with the aim of doubling offshore wind power generation in US federal waters by 2030. Will this lead to a significant increase in RWE business in the US?

AD: That President Biden has signed on his first day in office a decree to rejoin the global climate agreement is a fantastic sign. It underpins that the US will continue to further grow in renewable energy. RWE’s installed capacity in the US accounts for one-third of our total capacity in the area of renewables. And we want to continue to expand into building on a strong development pipeline. The Biden Administration’s pledge to increase the development of offshore wind coupled with the new 30 percent offshore wind tax credit further underpins RWE’s commitment to the US market.

What will be the emerging trends in wind power in the coming year?

AD: Floating wind is definitely one. As the technology develops, the industry will bring costs down further. We are working on promising technical concepts in three floating demonstration projects in Norway, Spain and the US and are prepared for the first commercial floating offshore wind projects. Key requirements are learning more about mooring systems, fabrication, assembly and logistics, as well as installation and operation, to bring down costs further. Based on realistic levels of global deployment, we expect floating wind to be cost-competitive with seabed-fixed offshore wind farms by 2030. The production of green hydrogen is also important. In hard-to-electrify sectors hydrogen is needed for decarbonization.

What are the biggest challenges wind power companies face?

AD: Despite cost declines, wind projects increasingly face permitting and social acceptance challenges, policy uncertainties and grid integration problems. In Europe, higher targets and a robust policy framework including rapid expansion of competitive auctions are needed. In the US, faster growth of wind requires the extension of tax incentives, higher state RPS targets and investments in grid infrastructure. In the ASEAN region regulatory uncertainties, off-taker risks and grid connection challenges need to be addressed.

If you could make one change that would make a significant contribution to the wider adoption of wind power, what would it be?

AD: The fight against climate change is a global challenge. It is good that many countries have set out to further advance and accelerate the expansion of renewable energies. Even better would be clear roadmaps – including binding renewables build out targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050 – so that capital-intensive investments, for example in grids and port infrastructure and supply chain requirements, can be reliably planned and executed.

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath appears in the European Power List 2021. To download your copy, click here.

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath is one of the most powerful people in the global renewable energy industry.

As CEO of RWE Renewables, Dotzenrath has overseen the emergence of the company as a major player in the worldwide renewable energy market with a project pipeline of more than 30GW.

In an exclusive interview with A Word About Wind, Dotzenrath assesses the impact of last year’s E.ON deal, the Biden presidency in the US, and the continuing challenges facing the industry.

Last year RWE completed a major asset swap with E.ON, resulting in RWE taking over the Innogy and E.ON renewable activities. How has this impacted on RWE since and what opportunities and challenges has it presented?

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath: With this transaction RWE became a global renewables player in one fell swoop with a new core business centered around supplying green electricity. We want continuous growth in Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific by investing heavily in renewables. We are also entering the green hydrogen production market at full speed. We are consistently and responsibly withdrawing from fossil energy sources to become carbon neutral by 2040.

What do you currently see as the biggest opportunities for RWE Renewables?

AD: The conversion of the global energy system is key to a sustainable future. Countless possible pathways exist, yet all have one aspect in common: The power sector will become the central switchboard. Take the EU, it meets 75 percent of its primary energy demand with fossil fuels. By 2050 roughly that same share will be satisfied by renewable power. Seventy-five percent of renewable energy will be used directly as electricity in the power sector, in the transport sector and in the building sector. Another 25 percent will be converted into green hydrogen to replace fossil fuels in hard-to-abate sectors such as steel production, long-haul trucking, aviation and shipping. If you translate this into renewable capacity, it means that, in the EU, yearly wind capacity needs to double from 15 GW to 30 GW per year. And solar capacity needs to more than double from 20 GW to 50 GW. We are spanning all relevant technologies: offshore and onshore wind, photovoltaics, and battery storage. Our solid financial strength and renewables project pipeline of more than 30 GW gives us good optionality for growth. And we are at the forefront in developing new technologies such as floating offshore wind and green hydrogen.

What are currently the major growth areas for RWE Renewables?

AD: In the last year we have outlined our growth ambition for every technology – onshore and offshore wind as well as solar and battery storage. In the period from 2020 till the end of 2022, we aim to expand our renewables portfolio to a net capacity of more than 13 GW, involving an investment of €5 billion net - together with partners, the gross investment volume may be as high as €9 billion. We want to hold sizeable positions in every market we operate in to realize economies of scale.

US President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order with the aim of doubling offshore wind power generation in US federal waters by 2030. Will this lead to a significant increase in RWE business in the US?

AD: That President Biden has signed on his first day in office a decree to rejoin the global climate agreement is a fantastic sign. It underpins that the US will continue to further grow in renewable energy. RWE’s installed capacity in the US accounts for one-third of our total capacity in the area of renewables. And we want to continue to expand into building on a strong development pipeline. The Biden Administration’s pledge to increase the development of offshore wind coupled with the new 30 percent offshore wind tax credit further underpins RWE’s commitment to the US market.

What will be the emerging trends in wind power in the coming year?

AD: Floating wind is definitely one. As the technology develops, the industry will bring costs down further. We are working on promising technical concepts in three floating demonstration projects in Norway, Spain and the US and are prepared for the first commercial floating offshore wind projects. Key requirements are learning more about mooring systems, fabrication, assembly and logistics, as well as installation and operation, to bring down costs further. Based on realistic levels of global deployment, we expect floating wind to be cost-competitive with seabed-fixed offshore wind farms by 2030. The production of green hydrogen is also important. In hard-to-electrify sectors hydrogen is needed for decarbonization.

What are the biggest challenges wind power companies face?

AD: Despite cost declines, wind projects increasingly face permitting and social acceptance challenges, policy uncertainties and grid integration problems. In Europe, higher targets and a robust policy framework including rapid expansion of competitive auctions are needed. In the US, faster growth of wind requires the extension of tax incentives, higher state RPS targets and investments in grid infrastructure. In the ASEAN region regulatory uncertainties, off-taker risks and grid connection challenges need to be addressed.

If you could make one change that would make a significant contribution to the wider adoption of wind power, what would it be?

AD: The fight against climate change is a global challenge. It is good that many countries have set out to further advance and accelerate the expansion of renewable energies. Even better would be clear roadmaps – including binding renewables build out targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050 – so that capital-intensive investments, for example in grids and port infrastructure and supply chain requirements, can be reliably planned and executed.

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath appears in the European Power List 2021. To download your copy, click here.

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath is one of the most powerful people in the global renewable energy industry.

As CEO of RWE Renewables, Dotzenrath has overseen the emergence of the company as a major player in the worldwide renewable energy market with a project pipeline of more than 30GW.

In an exclusive interview with A Word About Wind, Dotzenrath assesses the impact of last year’s E.ON deal, the Biden presidency in the US, and the continuing challenges facing the industry.

Last year RWE completed a major asset swap with E.ON, resulting in RWE taking over the Innogy and E.ON renewable activities. How has this impacted on RWE since and what opportunities and challenges has it presented?

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath: With this transaction RWE became a global renewables player in one fell swoop with a new core business centered around supplying green electricity. We want continuous growth in Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific by investing heavily in renewables. We are also entering the green hydrogen production market at full speed. We are consistently and responsibly withdrawing from fossil energy sources to become carbon neutral by 2040.

What do you currently see as the biggest opportunities for RWE Renewables?

AD: The conversion of the global energy system is key to a sustainable future. Countless possible pathways exist, yet all have one aspect in common: The power sector will become the central switchboard. Take the EU, it meets 75 percent of its primary energy demand with fossil fuels. By 2050 roughly that same share will be satisfied by renewable power. Seventy-five percent of renewable energy will be used directly as electricity in the power sector, in the transport sector and in the building sector. Another 25 percent will be converted into green hydrogen to replace fossil fuels in hard-to-abate sectors such as steel production, long-haul trucking, aviation and shipping. If you translate this into renewable capacity, it means that, in the EU, yearly wind capacity needs to double from 15 GW to 30 GW per year. And solar capacity needs to more than double from 20 GW to 50 GW. We are spanning all relevant technologies: offshore and onshore wind, photovoltaics, and battery storage. Our solid financial strength and renewables project pipeline of more than 30 GW gives us good optionality for growth. And we are at the forefront in developing new technologies such as floating offshore wind and green hydrogen.

What are currently the major growth areas for RWE Renewables?

AD: In the last year we have outlined our growth ambition for every technology – onshore and offshore wind as well as solar and battery storage. In the period from 2020 till the end of 2022, we aim to expand our renewables portfolio to a net capacity of more than 13 GW, involving an investment of €5 billion net - together with partners, the gross investment volume may be as high as €9 billion. We want to hold sizeable positions in every market we operate in to realize economies of scale.

US President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order with the aim of doubling offshore wind power generation in US federal waters by 2030. Will this lead to a significant increase in RWE business in the US?

AD: That President Biden has signed on his first day in office a decree to rejoin the global climate agreement is a fantastic sign. It underpins that the US will continue to further grow in renewable energy. RWE’s installed capacity in the US accounts for one-third of our total capacity in the area of renewables. And we want to continue to expand into building on a strong development pipeline. The Biden Administration’s pledge to increase the development of offshore wind coupled with the new 30 percent offshore wind tax credit further underpins RWE’s commitment to the US market.

What will be the emerging trends in wind power in the coming year?

AD: Floating wind is definitely one. As the technology develops, the industry will bring costs down further. We are working on promising technical concepts in three floating demonstration projects in Norway, Spain and the US and are prepared for the first commercial floating offshore wind projects. Key requirements are learning more about mooring systems, fabrication, assembly and logistics, as well as installation and operation, to bring down costs further. Based on realistic levels of global deployment, we expect floating wind to be cost-competitive with seabed-fixed offshore wind farms by 2030. The production of green hydrogen is also important. In hard-to-electrify sectors hydrogen is needed for decarbonization.

What are the biggest challenges wind power companies face?

AD: Despite cost declines, wind projects increasingly face permitting and social acceptance challenges, policy uncertainties and grid integration problems. In Europe, higher targets and a robust policy framework including rapid expansion of competitive auctions are needed. In the US, faster growth of wind requires the extension of tax incentives, higher state RPS targets and investments in grid infrastructure. In the ASEAN region regulatory uncertainties, off-taker risks and grid connection challenges need to be addressed.

If you could make one change that would make a significant contribution to the wider adoption of wind power, what would it be?

AD: The fight against climate change is a global challenge. It is good that many countries have set out to further advance and accelerate the expansion of renewable energies. Even better would be clear roadmaps – including binding renewables build out targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050 – so that capital-intensive investments, for example in grids and port infrastructure and supply chain requirements, can be reliably planned and executed.

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath appears in the European Power List 2021. To download your copy, click here.

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath is one of the most powerful people in the global renewable energy industry.

As CEO of RWE Renewables, Dotzenrath has overseen the emergence of the company as a major player in the worldwide renewable energy market with a project pipeline of more than 30GW.

In an exclusive interview with A Word About Wind, Dotzenrath assesses the impact of last year’s E.ON deal, the Biden presidency in the US, and the continuing challenges facing the industry.

Last year RWE completed a major asset swap with E.ON, resulting in RWE taking over the Innogy and E.ON renewable activities. How has this impacted on RWE since and what opportunities and challenges has it presented?

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath: With this transaction RWE became a global renewables player in one fell swoop with a new core business centered around supplying green electricity. We want continuous growth in Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific by investing heavily in renewables. We are also entering the green hydrogen production market at full speed. We are consistently and responsibly withdrawing from fossil energy sources to become carbon neutral by 2040.

What do you currently see as the biggest opportunities for RWE Renewables?

AD: The conversion of the global energy system is key to a sustainable future. Countless possible pathways exist, yet all have one aspect in common: The power sector will become the central switchboard. Take the EU, it meets 75 percent of its primary energy demand with fossil fuels. By 2050 roughly that same share will be satisfied by renewable power. Seventy-five percent of renewable energy will be used directly as electricity in the power sector, in the transport sector and in the building sector. Another 25 percent will be converted into green hydrogen to replace fossil fuels in hard-to-abate sectors such as steel production, long-haul trucking, aviation and shipping. If you translate this into renewable capacity, it means that, in the EU, yearly wind capacity needs to double from 15 GW to 30 GW per year. And solar capacity needs to more than double from 20 GW to 50 GW. We are spanning all relevant technologies: offshore and onshore wind, photovoltaics, and battery storage. Our solid financial strength and renewables project pipeline of more than 30 GW gives us good optionality for growth. And we are at the forefront in developing new technologies such as floating offshore wind and green hydrogen.

What are currently the major growth areas for RWE Renewables?

AD: In the last year we have outlined our growth ambition for every technology – onshore and offshore wind as well as solar and battery storage. In the period from 2020 till the end of 2022, we aim to expand our renewables portfolio to a net capacity of more than 13 GW, involving an investment of €5 billion net - together with partners, the gross investment volume may be as high as €9 billion. We want to hold sizeable positions in every market we operate in to realize economies of scale.

US President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order with the aim of doubling offshore wind power generation in US federal waters by 2030. Will this lead to a significant increase in RWE business in the US?

AD: That President Biden has signed on his first day in office a decree to rejoin the global climate agreement is a fantastic sign. It underpins that the US will continue to further grow in renewable energy. RWE’s installed capacity in the US accounts for one-third of our total capacity in the area of renewables. And we want to continue to expand into building on a strong development pipeline. The Biden Administration’s pledge to increase the development of offshore wind coupled with the new 30 percent offshore wind tax credit further underpins RWE’s commitment to the US market.

What will be the emerging trends in wind power in the coming year?

AD: Floating wind is definitely one. As the technology develops, the industry will bring costs down further. We are working on promising technical concepts in three floating demonstration projects in Norway, Spain and the US and are prepared for the first commercial floating offshore wind projects. Key requirements are learning more about mooring systems, fabrication, assembly and logistics, as well as installation and operation, to bring down costs further. Based on realistic levels of global deployment, we expect floating wind to be cost-competitive with seabed-fixed offshore wind farms by 2030. The production of green hydrogen is also important. In hard-to-electrify sectors hydrogen is needed for decarbonization.

What are the biggest challenges wind power companies face?

AD: Despite cost declines, wind projects increasingly face permitting and social acceptance challenges, policy uncertainties and grid integration problems. In Europe, higher targets and a robust policy framework including rapid expansion of competitive auctions are needed. In the US, faster growth of wind requires the extension of tax incentives, higher state RPS targets and investments in grid infrastructure. In the ASEAN region regulatory uncertainties, off-taker risks and grid connection challenges need to be addressed.

If you could make one change that would make a significant contribution to the wider adoption of wind power, what would it be?

AD: The fight against climate change is a global challenge. It is good that many countries have set out to further advance and accelerate the expansion of renewable energies. Even better would be clear roadmaps – including binding renewables build out targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050 – so that capital-intensive investments, for example in grids and port infrastructure and supply chain requirements, can be reliably planned and executed.

Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath appears in the European Power List 2021. To download your copy, click here.

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Not a member yet?

Become a member of the 6,500-strong A Word About Wind community today, and gain access to our premium content, exclusive lead generation and investment opportunities.