Stor-Rotliden wind farm

The challenge is on to make clean energy clean all the way

The United Nations’ International Day of Clean Energy, 26 January, is a great opportunity to raise awareness and mobilise action for a just and inclusive transition to clean energy. And not just clean because it's low carbon, but because it’s built in environmentally and socially sustainable ways. Clean all the way.

For Vattenfall, this means following a clear path to fossil freedom, while holding ourselves to strict targets. Along with our own target to be net zero by 2040, we also aim to reduce carbon emissions in our supply chains for goods and services by 50 per cent by 2030. Both targets mean looking beyond our own industry to see where we can really make a difference, helping our customers, suppliers and partners, and working together to succeed in decarbonising society.

One of the ways to reach these targets, is through innovative solutions for producing steel. Steel production currently accounts for 7 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and there is potential to dramatically cut them down. With Hybrit, Vattenfall and partners, SSAB and LKAB, have already successfully shown that fossil free steel can be produced, providing clean steel.

Fossil free power line pylons

Vattenfall will gain access to fossil-free steel as early as this year. We plan to start trials with potential applications including power line pylons, components to hydroelectric dams, grid stations, anchoring structures for onshore wind power and parts of foundations for offshore wind power. An example of how vital it is that companies work together to make things happen faster and in a sustainable way.

Stepping away from landfills, Vattenfall set a target in 2022 to recycle all dismantled wind turbine blades by 2030, and 50 per cent of the blades already by 2025. Turbine blades from Dutch Wind farm Irene Vorrink will be the first to enter the recycling process and be turned into skis, snowboards and construction materials for solar farms. The goal is to have a fully commercial application as early as 2025, enabling Vattenfall to reach its 100 per cent target much sooner than 2030. The circular economy is not just a concept on paper, it is hip, and it is happening!

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Annika Ramsköld, Head of Sustainability at Vattenfall.

And while we innovate to cut our own carbon footprint and that of our supply chain to develop clean energy, it is vital that we work in harmony with nature, keeping biodiversity and nature protection at the heart of everything we do. With the help of new technologies like AI, we have proven how seabirds avoided wind turbines at our offshore wind farm in Aberdeen, and how fish recognition technology can control which fish travel up and down the fish ladders that bypass our Stornorrforsen hydro power plant in Sweden. Not only can fish recognition technology be used to detect the right type of fish, but it also has great potential in discovering invasive species that reduce the populations of other fish.

Large companies can make a difference

As we celebrate International Day of Clean Energy, we understand that large companies such as Vattenfall can make a huge impact and influence others to do the same. There is clear and overwhelming agreement that a fair and urgent transition from polluting fossil fuels to clean energy is essential, but that achieving the transition sustainably is just as important. With all these elements combined, we can deliver the low cost, low carbon energy system that people need.”

Read more about how Vattenfall is helping society to break free from fossil fuels

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