25 January 2022

Limited Utility: The European energy companies failing on net zero commitments

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Limited Utility: The European energy companies failing on net zero commitments is an initiative of Europe Beyond Coal and Ember, and investigates whether or not the strategies of the major EU coal-burning utilities align with the urgent need to decarbonise their fossil fuel electricity portfolios and accelerate their deployment of renewables, as outlined in the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Net Zero Emissions by 2050 report. 

It finds that not one of the utilities analysed is making plans to meet all of the IEA’s science-based milestones to meet the mid-century target and limit climate change to 1.5 degrees. 

The following utilities were selected for this analysis based on their assets as listed in the Europe Beyond Coal Database, and all were approached in August and December 2021 to verify the data used in this publication:

BEH, CE Oltenia,ČCEZ, Drax, EDF, EnBW, ENEA, Enel, ENGIE, EPH, Fortum/Uniper, Iberdrola, Naturgy, PGE, RWE, SSE, Sev.En, STEAG, Tauron, Vattenfall and Ørsted.

Each of these companies knows very well what is required of them to deliver on their net zero pledges, so the gaping hole between their so-called ‘ambition’ and what they actually intend to deliver is very revealing. It’s time to draw a line in the sand: if companies do not align their business plans with the intermediate milestones required to deliver on their net zero pledges, financial institutions providing them with support must intervene,” said Kaarina Kolle, lead author.


Please also note that Europe Beyond Coal, Ember and the partner organisations do not directly endorse the key modelling decisions by the IEA. While the report highlights some of the organisations’ respective prioritisation, the assessment is based on the IEA’s key assumptions, which may or may not reflect the author organisations’ official positions.

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