RWE's CEO, Harry Roels, has called for close cooperation from policymakers and regulatory authorities to support the company's plans to build a zero-emission power plant.

Mr Roels presented RWE’s plans to invest E1 billion to build the first large-scale zero emission power plant to the general assembly of the European Commission’s ZEP (European Technology Platform for Zero Emission Fossil Fuel Power Plant) in Brussels. The meeting was attended by EU environment commissioner Stavros Dimas, high-level representatives of the European parliament and the Council of Ministers, along with other officials from politics, industry, non-governmental organizations and the ZEP.

Mr Roels explained RWE’s plans to build the first large-scale power plant worldwide with integrated coal gasification, CO2 separation and CO2 storage to the general assembly. He said that the coal-fired power plant, which is expected to have a gross output of around 450MW, could come on-stream in 2014 if planning and implementation proceed smoothly. He also revealed that the decision as to whether hard coal or lignite will be used as the primary fuel of the CO2-free power plant will be taken in 2007.

We can only achieve this goal if policymakers and regulatory authorities provide us with the necessary support, Mr Roels said, while also calling for a review of existing legal provisions on water and waste in order to realize such an ambitious project. He stressed that developing and running a zero-emission power plant requires cooperation between the companies involved and policymakers to deal with issues related to public perception and the regulatory framework.

At the meeting, Mr Roles also highlighted the fact that obtaining the public’s support was vital in proceeding with plans to build the plant, and urged all stakeholders involved in the project to explain the advantages of carbon capture and storage to European citizens. Engaging in a dialogue with the public and rendering decision-making processes for power plant planning transparent is beneficial to all parties involved, he said.

RWE anticipates receiving approval for the construction of its power plant by early 2010 at the latest.