By Tom Käckenhoff, Christoph Steitz and Vera Eckert
DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - RWE, which earlier this week announced it would split off parts of its business, plans a big expansion of its wind energy business and is also considering making major inroads into solar power, its chief executive told Reuters.
Germany's second-largest utility on Tuesday unveiled a corporate overhaul, planning to pool its renewables, networks and retail divisions into a separately listed entity to escape a crisis that has hit conventional energy production.
In his first interview following the announcement - which was welcomed by investors as a smart move - CEO Peter Terium said investments in renewable energy could triple to 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) per year.
He did not specify a timeframe for the increase, but said the group would not seek expansion at any price.
"We won't burn money. It's about being profitable."
The plan to overhaul the company would pool RWE's most promising businesses, which Terium said could have annual earnings growth in the single-digit percentage range. It still needs approval from RWE's supervisory board at its Dec. 11 meeting.
Growth at its renewable business will primarily be driven by further expansion of its onshore and offshore wind business, Terium said, adding the company would also consider investing in utility-scale solar projects in the 50-250 megawatt (MW) range.
($1 = 0.9253 euros)
(Editing by Ludwig Burger and Pravin Char)