Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time.
A major effort is underway to limit the Earth’s temperature rise to 1.5°C, which would require the world to reach zero net CO2 emissions between 2030 and 2050. To become fossil free within one generation, Vattenfall needs to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions throughout the entire value chain and we are working together with customers, partners, authorities and cities to achieve this. The goal is climate neutrality for our own operations, those of our suppliers and our customers. We call this our CO2 roadmap.
Reducing our own business emissions
Fossil fuels are not a long-term option for a society that wants to achieve climate neutrality, nor for the Vattenfall of the future. Lignite and hard coal do not longer fit in to our strategy. By divesting our lignite operations in 2016, we have reduced our annual CO2 emissions from 84 million tonnes to 23 million tonnes in 2017. More than half of our remaining CO2 emissions come from our coal-fired condensing/CHP plants in Germany and the Netherlands (16 million tonnes), and most of the remainder from gas-fired units in the two countries (6 million tonnes). These figures will decrease further with the sale of the heat business in Hamburg, the decommissioning of Hemweg 8 in the Netherlands, and Reuter C in Berlin in 2019. Vattenfall has decided to completely phase out coal in its heat portfolio in Germany by 2030 and in the Netherlands already by 2020.
In the Nordic region, Vattenfall’s business already today has low emissions with practically 100 percent of the electricity production based on renewable hydro power and low-emitting nuclear production. The company aims to become totally climate neutral in the Nordic region by 2025, including its heat business.
Reducing our supplier emissions
Vattenfall is also engaging in efforts to help its suppliers reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, primarily associated with coal mining, gas production and nuclear fuel, as well as in the supply of components and maintenance. With the support of emissions data from Life Cycle Assessments and ongoing dialogues with suppliers, we are making a concerted effort to reduce these emissions (our supplier emissions were 5 Mt/year in 2017). We are targeting strategic suppliers and requiring information on their management of climate aspects while looking for reduction opportunities in connection with new contracts. We support joint initiatives to reduce emissions and are setting clear requirements for suppliers and contractors to reduce their environmental impacts and set targets for reducing their carbon footprints.
Reducing our customer emissions
Vattenfall's gas customers also account for a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions (our customer emissions were 15 Mt/year in 2017). We are working to make it easy and affordable for customers to adopt climate-smarter living habits. This means that we are continuously developing our portfolio of decentralised energy solutions like solar panels, heat pumps, and batteries, and we are making it easier for customers to make informed, economically beneficial, and climate-smart decisions for their heating needs.
Helping customers achieve their climate targets
We are committed to reducing our climate impact across the entire value chain, with a particular focus on helping our customers and partners lower their emissions and achieve their climate targets. We have expanded our product offering to household and business customers to enable them to lower their footprint and/or produce energy themselves. Examples include low-CO2 heat and electricity, e-vehicle charging solutions, solar roofs, heat pumps, smart thermostats and homes, and more. We strive to provide transparency on the climate footprint of our products through life cycle assessments and Environmental Product Declarations. We are also cooperating with energy intensive businesses to reduce CO2 emissions through the electrification of industrial processes.
We believe that Sweden can be a pioneer in this area given that its electricity is comparatively cheap and virtually fossil-free. Electrification has the potential to provide up to 9 million tonnes per year of potential CO2 savings in Sweden’s steel, cement and refinery industries. There is also the potential to produce renewable fuels in refineries to save 6 million tonnes per year in the transport sector. We also support the electrification of the transport sector by taking a leading role in developing a charging infrastructure. This is key to phasing out fossil fuels and reaching the national targets for CO2 reductions in all our markets.
The combination of CHP, renewable heat and heat storage creates opportunities for flexible heat and power generation with low CO2 emissions. In our partnerships with the cities of Uppsala, Berlin and Amsterdam, we are working on plans to develop a path to climate neutrality and still deliver on our customers’ expectations of the supply of affordable electricity and heat.