As a hub for several large energy companies in Germany, the city of Essen is witnessing the impact of the Ukraine war on energy markets first hand. Thomas Kufen, who has served as the mayor of Essen since 2015, tells fDi that policy-makers have again had to discuss using coal as a substitute for Russian gas.

Q: How has Essen’s energy sector been impacted by the fallout of the Ukraine war?


A: Energy prices are going up and security is not a given, especially because of the crisis between Ukraine and Russia. The companies in Essen are essential players in this regard — three of the five big energy companies have their headquarters in Essen, including RWE and E.ON. If we need to make changes in the energy sector, then Essen is crucial in this matter. 

On the one hand, we are talking again about coal energy, and that will be especially important when we will not be able to rely on energy imports from Russia anymore. It is difficult to substitute Russian gas, but Russian gas and oil will have to be substituted somehow. So the question is where do we get liquified natural gas from and how this might impact the large employers like RWE? It will have a big impact.

This article first appeared in the April/May 2022 print edition of fDi Intelligence. View a digital edition of the magazine here.