The firm's operating profit is likely to be down 25 percent on the €1.9 billion profit from last year, warned EnBW's chief finance officer Thomas Kusterer at the general meeting on Tuesday. Until now EnBW had only predicted a 15-percent drop in profits.
Yet the 25-percent reduction in profits assumes that the Philippsburg 1 nuclear power station will be used again once the current three-month moratorium is lifted. Profits could be hit even harder if this is not deemed possible – as anti-nuclear power campaigners who say it is too old to be put back into service, suggest.
CEO Hans-Peter Villis said the reduced profit prognosis was prompting him to strengthen a current savings plan. Costs will now have to be reduced by a mid-triple-digit million figure over the next two years he said.
And in a warning to politicians, he said, “Every unplanned closure of our power stations and every further burden from energy policy will limit our room for investment.”
Yet EnBW will also double its activities in renewable energy over the next decade, he said, increasing its investment to around €8 billion. But Villis said this would only happen if what he called the company's ‘investment capabilities' were not limited by the national energy policy framework.
EnBW was Germany's most nuclear-reliant power generator, with 51 percent of its energy nuclear-based – until the moratorium last month which invoked the immediate shut down of Germany's seven oldest nuclear power plants, a safety check of the rest and a review of nuclear policy.
It was only generating 10.5 percent of its energy from renewable sources last year.
“We stand by our power stations and we are convinced that our facilities are safe,” said Villis, adding that the accelerated change in the German energy generation system demanded by politicians and the public would present a difficult challenge to the firm.
Greenpeace demonstrated within the general meeting, and later criticised the four big German energy providers of hindering a switch over to renewable sources.
"The energy giants are simply moving their centres of gravity backwards and forwards, now back to fossil fuels, and then later perhaps back to nuclear," said Karsten Smid, the protest group's nuclear expert.
He said the investments made by EON, RWE, Vattenfall and EnBWE into renewable energy were way behind the targets set by politicians.
The Institute for Ecological Economic Research released a study showing that the big four energy firms planned to put between 13 and 20 percent of their investments into renewables.
"But this is not going to be enough to meet the renewable share of the electricity mix of 35 percent which the government is aiming for by 2020," said Bernd Hirschl, main author of the study.