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Volkswagen to prolong coal-fired power as Russia concerns continue


Protecting an space of 6.5 million sq. meters, VW’s large manufacturing facility in Wolfsburg makes use of two cogeneration crops that present it with warmth and energy.

Krisztian Bocsi | Bloomberg | Getty Pictures

The CEO of Volkswagen advised CNBC Wednesday that the German automotive large was preserving its choices open when it comes to the way it powers its large manufacturing plant in Wolfsburg, admitting coal would nonetheless be wanted on account of ongoing tensions between Russia and Europe.

Talking to CNBC’s Annette Weisbach, VW chief Herbert Diess was requested how involved he was about gasoline provides from Russia stopping and what that might imply for his agency’s operations.

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“That is really actually a menace … as a result of it’s extremely arduous to foretell what is going on to occur,” Diess mentioned. “Right here in Wolfsburg we nonetheless have coal-fired energy crops which we wished to — and we’re — changing into gasoline.”

Protecting an space of 6.5 million sq. meters, VW’s manufacturing facility within the metropolis of Wolfsburg makes use of two cogeneration crops that present it with warmth and energy.

The agency had been planning to exchange its coal-fired boilers with gasoline and steam turbine items in a bid to decrease carbon dioxide emissions, however international occasions would seem to have prompted a rethink in the intervening time.

“It is all ready however now we’re a little bit bit hesitating, and we are going to look and see how the scenario goes to develop,” Diess mentioned. “We are able to [adapt] … to the scenario. We are able to, [for] a little bit bit, delay our coal-fired crops — hopefully it isn’t for too lengthy. Then we want to change to gasoline as soon as the provision is secured.”

On Wednesday, Reuters also quoted Diess as telling reporters that VW had “simply determined to improve our coal-fired energy crops to nonetheless be capable to use coal or gasoline,” including that this associated to the corporate’s foremost operations in Wolfsburg.

VW reported outcomes for the primary quarter of 2022 on Wednesday. Working revenue earlier than particular objects hit 513 million euros (round $541 million), up from 490 million euros within the first quarter of 2021. The agency reported gross sales income of just below 15 billion euros in comparison with 17.6 billion euros within the first quarter of 2021.

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Diess’ remarks got here on the identical day the European Fee, the EU’s government department, put ahead new sanctions towards the Kremlin that will include a six-month phase out of Russian crude imports.

“We are going to section out Russian provide of crude oil inside six months and refined merchandise by the top of the yr,” Ursula von der Leyen, the European Fee’s president, mentioned in a speech outlining the plans.

“Thus, we maximize the stress on Russia, whereas on the similar time – and that is essential – we reduce the collateral harm to us and our companions across the globe,” she mentioned. “As a result of to assist Ukraine, we’ve got to guarantee that our economic system stays robust.”

Russia was the most important provider of each petroleum oils and pure gasoline to the EU final yr, according to Eurostat. Towards the top of April, Russia’s state-owned vitality agency Gazprom stopped supplies to two EU nations, Poland and Bulgaria, because they had refused to pay for gas in rubles. The transfer led many to worry that different international locations within the EU may see their provides halted too.

Geopolitical instability, the volatility of vitality markets and the Covid-19 pandemic have all sparked considerations in some quarters that any transition to a world economic system centered round renewables may very well be delayed or prevented.

Throughout an interview with “Squawk Field Europe” on Wednesday morning, the CEO of delivery large Maersk supplied a cautiously optimistic outlook.

Søren Skou mentioned “a better oil worth, all issues equal, will assist the inexperienced transition as a result of it’ll make the associated fee premiums, if you’ll, for greener fuels smaller.”

“So we see that extra as a method of accelerating the inexperienced transition than pushing it again.”

— CNBC’s Silvia Amaro contributed to this report