Renewable energy revolution powers split-up of German utility E.ON

Sweeping change in the electricity business and the rise of renewable energy are behind German utility' E.ON's decision to spin off its conventional power plants — and create two companies that can each focus on what it does best.

E.ON CEO Johannes Teyssen said Monday that conventional power generation will remain indispensable but that a "new world has grown up alongside it, a world characterized above all by technological innovation and individualized customer expectations."

E.ON SE will focus on renewables such as wind power and distribution networks, while the as-yet unnamed new company will keep gas and coal plants. Those plants have had difficulty making a profit due to government support for renewables.

Teyssen said it was difficult "to combine these two very different cultures in a single organization."