Governments and private sector energy companies must work together to drive acceptance of energy transition targets, the chief executive of German utility RWE said on Tuesday, warning that behavior changes will be a hard sell.
In a panel discussion during the Reuters Global Energy Transition conference, Chief Executive Markus Krebber said while big companies were now moving forward on decarbonization, the discussion had to reach every individual.
"As an industry, we need to take this discussion together with the politicians to the people - what is your willingness to pay more for a green product, how do you travel, what do you eat?" he said.
Germany, the European Union's biggest economy, will go to the polls in September in an election where the effect of climate change measures on society will be hotly fought over.
The European Commission will propose a dozen climate policies on July 14 to slash greenhouse gases faster.
"We see a lot of resistance in many countries to transmission lines, back-up capacity and renewable energies, especially onshore wind and import infrastructure for green energy products," Krebber said.
"This is... where the industry and the politicians need to cooperate because in some countries it will be very difficult to achieve the very ambitious targets," he said.
After decades as a generator focused on coal, nuclear and gas burning, RWE is in the midst of transforming itself, spending 90% of capex on green investments.
Now the number two in the offshore wind business worldwide and number three in renewables in Europe, it will expand its renewables portfolio to more than 13 GW by the end of 2022 via net investments of 5 billion euros ($5.95 billion).
($1 = 0.8409 euros)
(Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Jan Harvey)