The end of September 2016 marked an important milestone in Vattenfall's transformation, with the completion of the sale of the German lignite operations to the Czech energy group EPH and its financial partner PPF Investments. This was an important step in adapting Vattenfall's portfolio to the new market environment and to a long-term sustainable energy system and positions the company well for the completion of the transformation to become carbon neutral.
However, in the shorter term, the hard coal-fired assets are still important from a system perspective to guarantee security of supply in the electricity and district heating markets. From a business perspective adequate regulatory frameworks are therefore needed to allow companies to finance and complete the transformation towards climate-neutrality.
Currently Vattenfall owns and operates seven coal-fired power stations, thereof six combined heat and power plants (CHP) in Berlin and the Hamburg region in Germany and one condense only plant in the Netherlands:
- Moorburg and Tiefstack in Hamburg, Germany
- Wedel in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
- Reuter and Reuter West in Berlin, Germany
- Biomass co-fired Moabit in Berlin, Germany
- Hemweg 8 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Some examples of Vattenfall activities towards climate neutrality
In light of the transformation towards climate neutrality, Vattenfall is working actively to reduce CO2 emissions in its generation portfolio.
The phase-out of coal and the investments into economically as well as environmentally sustainable technologies need time and will be a cornerstone in Vattenfall's long-term partnerships as the partnership with the city of Berlin. For example, Vattenfall has already invested almost SEK 900 million into an initiative which allowed an earlier than originally planned fuel switch from lignite to natural gas. The switch has become effective as of May 2017 and it lowers Vattenfall's annual CO2 emissions in Berlin by 600,000 tonnes.
By 2020 Vattenfall plans to replace the hard coal fired CHP Reuter C by a power-to-heat facility which allows the integration of renewables into the district heating system as well as a gas fired heat only boiler. In parallel, Vattenfall has realized the delivery of steam from the Moorburg power plant to an industrial partner in the same area, which will change the plant's operation mode from pure condensing to be CHP based.
In the Netherlands, Vattenfall is opting for either partially replacing coal by biomass with co-firing or early closure of its last and only coal-fired plant Hemweg 8. This depends to a large extent on the choice that Dutch politicians will make in relation to the resolutions that call for a complete coal phase out in the Netherlands.