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, today only used in Germany since our last coal-fired power plant in the Netherlands, Hemweg 8 near Amsterdam, was shut down at the end of 2019.
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 has only operated the Moorburg CHP plant in Hamburg. The German Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) decided on 1 December 2020 to award compensation for a complete phase-out of Vattenfall’s coal-fired power plant Moorburg in Hamburg. This means that Moorburg will not produce electricity commercially as of 1 January 2021, but must be kept in reserve for potential grid stabilization until 30 June 2021 at the latest.
Currently Vattenfall owns and operates four coal-fired thermal power plants in Berlin and Hamburg in Germany:
- Reuter and Reuter West in Berlin
- Biomass co-fired Moabit in Berlin
- Moorburg in Hamburg (no commercial electricity production from 1 January 2021)
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.
In 2019, the hard coal fired thermal power plant Reuter C was decommissioned and Europe’s largest power-to-heat plant taken into operation at the nearby Reuter West site. This allows the integration of renewable energy sources into the district heating system, as electricity generation from wind is stored as heat and can later be fed into the district heating network.