Vattenfall's goal is to be fossil-free within one generation and climate neutral by 2050.
This means that we will start by phasing out coal as a fuel, followed by natural gas.
An important part of Vattenfall's strategy is to reduce our own carbon dioxide emissions. We are investing in expanding renewable generation, primarily wind and solar power, while helping our customers and suppliers to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by offering them climate-smart solutions.
The first major step we took to phase coal out from our operations was to sell the German lignite operations in 2016. This resulted in a reduction of Vattenfall's annual carbon dioxide emissions from over 80 million tonnes to about 23 million tonnes, while freeing up resources to strengthen our investment in renewables. Today, we no longer use lignite in our operations.
The next step in reducing Vattenfall's carbon dioxide emissions will be to phase out hard coal, still used in Germany and the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, our last coal-fired power plant, Hemweg 8 near Amsterdam, was shut down at the end of 2019. And by 2030, we will also have phased out hard coal from our entire operations in Berlin.
Together with the city of Berlin, Vattenfall has developed a plan for phasing out hard coal, still used in a handful of thermal power plants in the city, by 2030. The city of Hamburg decided to repurchase heat operations from Vattenfall, including a few coal-fired thermal power plants. The district heating operations in Hamburg have been handed over in 2019.
After 2019, Vattenfall will only operate the Moorburg CHP plant in Hamburg. The plant is one of the most up-to-date and efficient thermal power plants in Europe, and is used primarily to generate electricity. Moorburg will continue to play a vital role in Hamburg for securing the electricity supply when renewable generation is not sufficient. Nevertheless, Moorburg will be decommissioned by 2038 in accordance with the German State's decision to phase out coal nationally unless, for example, a fuel switch can be achieved before this date.
Currently Vattenfall owns and operates four coal-fired thermal power plants in Berlin and Hamburg in Germany:
- Reuter and Reuter West in Berlin, Germany
- Biomass co-fired Moabit in Berlin, Germany
- Moorburg in Hamburg, Germany
Vattenfall has implemented a risk screening process to make a sound and fact-based decision on whether to buy coal from a supplier or not.
Some examples of Vattenfall's activities towards achieving climate neutrality
As part of the transformation towards climate neutrality, Vattenfall is working actively to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from our generation. The vast majority of Vattenfall's carbon dioxide emissions come from our heat operations, primarily in Berlin.
In collaboration with the city of Berlin, we are replacing coal-fired power plants with modern gas thermal power plants or with plants that use biomass and waste as fuel. Through a number of measures, Vattenfall has succeeded in halving its carbon dioxide emissions since 1990 and in 2017, three years earlier than anticipated, has reached the targets stipulated in a climate agreement with the city of Berlin in 2009. The coal exit in Berlin is feasible by 2030 at the latest.
By 2020 Vattenfall plans to replace the hard coal fired thermal power plant Reuter C with a gas heating plant which allows the integration of renewable energy sources into the district heating system. Electricity generation from wind is stored as heat and can later be fed into the district heating network ('power-to-heat').