Coal

Vattenfall's goal is fossil freedom and reaching net zero by 2040.

To become fossil free, Vattenfall needs to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions and thereby reduce its carbon emissions throughout the entire value chain. 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. We no longer use lignite in our operations.

In 2019, our last coal-fired power plant in the Netherlands, Hemweg 8 near Amsterdam, as well as the coal plant Reuter C in Berlin were shut down. The district heating operations in Hamburg were handed over to the city of Hamburg in 2019, as the city decided to repurchase its heat operations from Vattenfall, including coal-fired thermal power plants.

At the end of 2020, the Moorburg plant in Hamburg stopped its commercial production based on hard coal earlier than planned. The plant was kept in reserve for potential grid stabilisation until 30 June 2021 but was closed down completely thereafter. It was divested in 2023.

The next step in reducing Vattenfall's carbon dioxide emissions will be to phase out hard coal, today used to produce and supply district heating to our Berlin customers. The decarbonisation roadmap was presented in June 2023 and describes the path for district heating towards 40 percent renewable energies by 2030 and completely climate-neutral heat generation in 2040 for Vattenfall’s heat business in Berlin.

Currently Vattenfall owns and operates two coal-fired Combined Heat & Power plants in Berlin:

  • Reuter West
  • Biomass co-fired Moabit

Coal sourcing

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.

Bucket wheel for digging coal

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. Today, the vast majority of Vattenfall's carbon dioxide emissions come from the production of district heating for our customers, primarily in Berlin.

In Berlin, Vattenfall is relying on a broad mix of technologies and fuels, including power-to-heat, waste heat utilisation through large-scale heat pumps, heat storage, sustainable biomass, thermal waste utilisation, geothermal potentials and modern gas-fired power plants that are planned to be "hydrogen-ready".

Through a number of measures, Vattenfall has succeeded in halving its Berlin 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 one of Europe’s largest power-to-heat plants taken into operation at the nearby Reuter West site. This allows the integration of renewable energy sources into the district heating system, as it enables the use of renewable electricity  to generate heat for the local district heating network.

Related content

Aerial view of Storrliden wind farm

Renewable energy, like wind power, is the key to reducing global CO2 emissions.

Interior view of a nuclear power plant reactor

Nuclear power generation plays a key role in supporting the energy transition.

Tuggen hydroelectric power station, Sweden

Hydro power is economically attractive and has low levels of CO2 emissions.

See also

Girl with green jumper looking into the camera

We have decided to make the biggest leap yet to reduce the impact of climate change.

View into the crowns of trees

To meet the unprecedented challenges we are facing, acceleration is needed.

Technician looks at a robot

Solutions and innovations that bring us closer to fossil freedom.