RWE npower

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RWE npower is a division of RWE Group, serving the UK energy market with electricity and gas. npower has been a key player in the UK renewable energy sector, building one of the first offshore windfarms.

Company history and structure

npower started as National Power when electricity was privatised in the early 1990s. By 2000 it had acquired Midlands Electricity, Calortex and Independent Energy, relaunching in April 2000 under the single brand, npower. In 2000 National Power demerged, creating Innogy and International Power. Innogy then acquired Northern Electric and Yorkshire Electricity. In 2002 npower was acquired by RWE, one of Europe’s largest utilities, based in Germany, and became RWE npower, the UK energy business of the RWE Group. In 2008 the renewable generation assets of the RWE Group were consolidated in a new operating company, RWE Innogy which operates in the UK as RWE npower renewables.[1]

Company divisions

Coal fired power stations

Two planned supercritical coal power stations at Tilbury (1,600 megawatt)and Blyth (2,400 megawatt) were cancelled in November 2009. [2]

New gas power stations

Two major new gas power stations are being built at

  • Staythorpe, Nottinghamshire (1,650MW)- comes online 2010.
  • Pembrokeshire in West Wales (up to 2,000MW) approved by the Energy Minister in early 2009.
  • Willington in Derbyshire (2,000MW) built partly on site of old Willington A and B power stations.

The proposal is for a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power station, comprising four CCGT generating units, each around 500MW in capacity and four open cycle gas turbine (OCGT) generating units with a combined capacity of 400MW. The OCGT units will only be used in times of peak demand. [3]


Nuclear spin.png This article is part of the Nuclear Spin project of Spinwatch.

npower secured two sites on the Cumbrian coast, as well as grid connection offers for two new nuclear plants, plus another in Wylfa, Anglesey. It was also part of a joint venture with E.ON UK and Horizon Nuclear Power for two more projects (another at Wylfa, and at Oldbury in Gloucestershire). In total they aimed to provide another 6GW of nuclear by 2020.[4]

RWE npower justified its new nuclear plants as part of a climate change and energy security strategy, as promoted by the UK government:

Building new nuclear power stations is a key part of our commitment to meet the UK’s energy needs and to reduce carbon dioxide intensity. The UK power industry needs significant investment in the next decade to replace ageing coal and nuclear power stations and help deliver an affordable, lower carbon economy.[5]

In March 2012 however, RWE npower and E.ON UK announced their intention to withdraw from UK nuclear and seek new owners for Horizon Nuclear Power.

Nuclear affiliations

Wind farms

RWE npower renewables is a lead player in the wind farm industry in the UK. In January 2010 it was named as the lead developer of offshore wind in The Bristol Channel Zone, one of nine zones named by the Crown estate for wind farms, generating in total 25GW.

In December 2009, the 90 MW Rhyl Flats Offshore Wind Farm - Wales's biggest offshore windfarm - was opened by RWE npower. [7]

Domination of the renewables market

RWE npower are closely associated with the UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy (UKBCSE)(ex-CEO of RWE trading Brian Count was founding chairman of the UKBCSE). Through this lobby group, npower and the other major energy suppliers aim to dominate the renewables market, and possibly even minimise its strength (maintaining their other areas of operation in coal, nuclear and gas), through the promotion of liberal Renewables Obligation-type policies (currently favoured in the UK), over REFIT-type policies favoured in Germany, and other countries with a high percentage of renewable generation. The section below is from the Powerbase page on UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy: Renewables Greenwash:

Evidence from observations of different EU state national policies have shown that REFIT (Renewable Energy Feed In Tariff) type 'command and control' policies, such as in Germany, Denmark and much of Europe, have been more effective in delivering carbon reductions than ROC type schemes favoured by the USA and UK. Market based schemes such as the UK's have been accused of favouring existing technologies and market dominance by major suppliers and preventing the growth of independent generators or emergent technologies. It is even suggested that dominating large energy companies (represented by the UKBCSE) deliberately keep fulfilment of the obligation low to maintain competition for ROCs and a high carbon price[8].
The UKBCSE and Energy Retail Association (another lobby group with almost identical membership makeup) have also lobbied against 'banding' of the Supplier Obligation, a reform to encourage the growth of smaller suppliers and newer technologies. Toke accuses large energy companies who dominate the ROC market of rejecting these REFIT-like changes because they perform better than deregulated trading and would encourage competition from other companies[9].
This policy suggests that in contrast to their sustainability rhetoric, the UKBCSE is not in favour of strong carbon targets, but only policies which are profitable for their members.


RWE npower is a member of a number of lobbying organisations and 'greenwashing' business-led green groups:

Lobbying firms


Executive Board

  • Volker Beckers, Group Chief Executive Officer, since Jan 2010. Also Deputy Head of the Executive Commercial Management Committee at BDEW (German Association of Energy and Water Industries) and also represents the German companies at Eurelectric's "Finance & Economics" Focus Group.
  • Dr Frank Weigand Chief Financial Officer since January 2010. Prior to this, he was Head of Group Controlling at RWE AG. Before joining RWE, he held senior positions with management consultants McKinsey and Company serving energy intensive clients in “Electric Power and Natural Gas”, “Cement” and “Operations” practices.[11]
  • Kevin McCullough Chief Technical Officer.
  • Kevin Miles, CEO of npower Retail

Senior management team



External lobbyists and PR firms

  • Weber Shandwick - lists RWE npower as a public affairs client in 2011 [15] and up until February 2012
  • Rosemary Grogan - lists RWE npower renewables (NRL) as a public affairs client in February 2012 [16]
  • PPS Group- also lists RWE npower renewables as a public affairs client in February 2012 [17]
  • Camargue PR - does not declare its clients on the APPC or PRCA registers but says on its website that it has been advising RWE npower renewables (NRL) on projects in England and Wales since 2010. 'We support NRL with communications consultancy, helping the company consult robustly with communities and stakeholders alike.'


  1. RWE website Our History Accessed 21/01/10
  2. RWE website New Power Stations Accessed 21/01/10
  3. RWE npower website New Power Stations Accessed 22/01/10
  4. RWE website Nuclear Accessed 21/01/10
  5. RWE website Nuclear Accessed 21/01/10
  6. Nuclear Development Forum, Meeting 27 October 2011, 12noon – 2pm, List of Attendees
  7. RWE npower website Renewables Accessed 22/01/10
  8. Toke, D and Lauber, V, (2007) 'Anglo-Saxon and German approaches to neoliberalism and environmental policy: The case of financing renewable energy / Geoforum 38: 677–687.
  9. Toke, D and Lauber, V, (2007) 'Anglo-Saxon and German approaches to neoliberalism and environmental policy: The case of financing renewable energy / Geoforum 38: 677–687.
  10. Register 1st September 2014 - 30th November 2014 APPC, accessed 29 January 2015
  11. RWE website RWE npower management team Accessed 21/01/10
  12. RWE website RWE npower management team Accessed 21/01/10
  13. RWE website RWE npower management team Accessed 21/01/10
  14. npower website Company Facts Accessed 21/01/10
  15. UK Public Affairs Council, Period 1 September 2011 to 30 November 2011
  16. APPC Register Entry for 1 Dec 2011 to 29 Feb 2012
  17. APPC Register Entry for 1 Dec 2011 to 29 Feb 2012