Our story began over 100 years ago with the restructuring of the Trollhättan canal in Sweden. 

A new way of living

The entry of electricity into the home changed the way people live forever. Electric lighting changed the daily rhythm of everyday life. And in the home, heavy tasks disappeared from household work, which was of huge significance, not least for women.

A new way of living


Today, Vattenfall is one of Europe's largest generators of electricity and the largest producer of heat. We've had a fantastic journey – and it has just started.

Take a trip into our history via the milestones below:

1909 The restructuring of the Trollhättan canal and hydro power plant to the Swedish State Power Board marks the birth of Vattenfall. The Swedish state had bought the water rights in Trollhättan a few years earlier and was now taking an active involvement in this emerging electricity generation technology.

1909–1916 The first large hydro power plants – Olidan, Porjus and Älvkarleby – are built.

1951 Inauguration of the Harsprånget hydro power plant, the world’s largest hydro power plant in many respects. During the same year, the world’s first 400 kilovolt transmission line is put in operation, stretching from northern Norrland to Hallsberg in central Sweden.

1952 The entire Swedish national electricity grid is hooked together.

1954 Vattenfall commissions the world’s first commercial high voltage direct current cable  – between the mainland and the island of Gotland.

1975–1976 Vattenfall's first two nuclear reactors, Ringhals 1 and 2, are commissioned. During the 1970s and 1980s, 12 reactors were built across Sweden, of which seven are owned by Vattenfall.

1992 Vattenfall is transformed from a state enterprise to the limited liability company, Vattenfall AB. Responsibility for the national grid – the Swedish high voltage network – is transferred to the newly formed state authority Svenska Kraftnät.

1995 Vattenfall's Board charts out an international growth strategy for Vattenfall.

1996 The Swedish electricity market is deregulated. The electricity grid operations are legally separated from electricity generation and sales.

European expansion

1996 Vattenfall's international expansion is initiated in 1996 through the acquisition of Hämeen Sähkö, a Finnish electricity distribution company. A representative office is opened in Hamburg, and Vattenfall begins working in the German market through the joint venture company VASA Energy.

1998 The German electricity market is deregulated in April.

1999 Vattenfall agrees to acquire 25.1 per cent of the shares in HEW from the City of Hamburg, with an option for the city to sell another 25.1 per cent to Vattenfall. The Barsebäck 1 nuclear reactor is decommissioned following a decision by Swedish parliament.

2000 In January, 55 per cent of the Polish heat production company EW is acquired in Warsaw, Poland. In August, an agreement is signed with E.ON to acquire a majority shareholding in Berlin's energy company, Bewag. However, the deal is blocked by the US company Southern Energy (now Mirant).

2001 In February, a 32 per cent stake is acquired in the Polish distribution company GZE. In May, Vattenfall becomes a majority owner in HEW through share purchases from E.ON and Sydkraft. Also in May, HEW acquires the electricity generator VEAG, which also owns the electricity grid in eastern Germany, and the lignite producer LAUBAG.

2002 In January, Vattenfall acquires all of Mirant's shares in Bewag. Vattenfall's various acquisitions in Germany are gathered under the name Vattenfall Europe AG, which is formally established in August through the merger between HEW and VEAG, including LAUBAG. Vattenfall thereby becomes Germany's third–largest electricity generator.

2003 In January/February, Bewag is merged into Vattenfall Europe AG. Vattenfall increases its stake in the Polish company EW to 70 per cent and in GZE to 54 per cent.

2005 In April, 35.3 per cent of the shares in the Danish company Elsam A/S are acquired. The nuclear reactor Barsebäck 2 is closed 31 May. In August, Vattenfall announces that it has gained possession of more than 95 per cent of the shares in Vattenfall Europe AG and initiates compulsory redemption of the minority owners' shares.

2006 On 1 January, the local German brands HEW and Bewag, and the Polish brands EW and GZE, are replaced with the Vattenfall brand. Vattenfall increases its ownership in both Polish companies to 75 per cent. On 1 July, a number of Danish wind power and combined heat and power assets are acquired from the Danish company DONG in exchange for ownership stakes in Elsam A/S and I/S Avedöre 2. Construction begins of a pilot Carbon Capture and Storage plant in Schwarze Pumpe.

2007 The Lillgrund wind farm, with 48 turbines, is commissioned and begins delivering electricity at the end of the year.

2008 Vattenfall lays out its strategic direction during the autumn:  making electricity clean. This also summarises Vattenfall’s climate vision – to be climate-neutral by 2050. In September, the world’s first pilot CCS plant using oxyfuel technology is inaugurated in Germany. During the autumn, Vattenfall acquires several wind power companies in the UK: AMEC Wind Energy Ltd, Eclipse Energy UK Plc, and Thanet Offshore Wind Ltd, the UK’s largest offshore wind farm ready for construction.

2009 On 1 July, Vattenfall acquires 49 per cent of Dutch energy company N.V. Nuon Energy, with approximately 6,000 employees, and takes over operative control of the company. Consideration for the remaining 51% will be paid by Vattenfall in three tranches in the coming five years. Vattenfall begins collaborations with car makers (BMW and Volvo) on development of electric and plug-in hybrid cars.

Vattenfall’s 100 years centenary 2009 is celebrated with a broad variety of external and internal activities throughout the year.

2010 In May, Vattenfall sells 50Hertz Transmission GmbH, its high voltage transmission grid in Germany. In September, Vattenfall announces a new strategic direction and a new, business-led Group organisational structure, which replaces the previous geographically based organisational structure. In September, Vattenfall also inaugurates Thanet, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, in the UK.

2011 As a result of the German parliament's decision on 30 June to take all 17 nuclear power plants in Germany out of operation by 2022 at the latest, Vattenfall is forced to impair the book value of its two nuclear power plants, Brunsbüttel and Krümmel, and increase provisions for dismantling and handling nuclear fuel. As part of Vattenfall's strategy, which entails focusing on a few main markets, a number of divestments are made during the year. For example, Vattenfall's Polish, Belgian and parts of the Finnish operations are divested.

2012 On 31 July Vattenfall files an application with the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) to obtain clarity on the conditions that would apply for the construction of new nuclear power reactors.

Effective 1 November, a number of changes are made to Vattenfall’s organisation. Two new Business Divisions are formed, Business Division Nuclear Power and Business Division Sustainable Energy Projects. The wind power production unit is integrated in Business Division Production.

At an extraordinary general meeting on 28 November, new financial targets are adopted for Vattenfall. In conjunction with this the company presents new sustainability targets.

2013 On 22 September a referendum is held in Hamburg on the issue of whether the city should take all measures necessary to repurchase all electricity, gas and district heating grids in the city. A narrow majority, 50.9 per cent, votes in favour of repurchasing the grids.

Vattenfall acquired the city's electricity and heating grids in 2001 in connection with its purchase of the City of Hamburg's shares in the energy company HEW. In 2011 Vattenfall sold 25.1 per cent of the electricity grid and district heating network to the city. The gas grid is owned by E.ON. The concession to conduct electricity grid operations expires at the end of 2014. The company that wins the concession will be able to acquire the grids.

After the referendum, the City of Hamburg and Vattenfall initiate negotiations on the sale of the remaining 74.9 per cent of the electricity and district heating grids. On 7 February 2014 the sale of Vattenfall's interest in the electricity grid company, Stromnetz Hamburg GmbH, is completed.

2014 Vattenfall decides to look into the opportunities of divesting the lignite operations in Germany in order to reach the target of reducing the company’s CO2 exposure to 65 million tonnes and transform to more renewable production. Vattenfall continues its investments in wind power.

Vattenfall decides to proceed with construction of the Sandbank offshore wind farm (288 MW) in Germany. Onshore wind farm Hjuleberg (36 MW) in Sweden is inaugurated. Vattenfall and the insurance and banking company Skandia decide to co-invest in four new wind farms in Sweden with a combined capacity of 141 MW. The wind farms will be operated by a jointly owned company. This marks the first time that a Swedish financial investor is directly financing construction of new wind power.

The divestment of Amagerværket CHP plant in Denmark is completed. The sale of Fynsværket CHP plant in Denmark is announced.

2015 Vattenfall's plan to divest its lignite operations in Germany continues during the year. Vattenfall agrees to sell the Nordjylland CHP plant in Denmark. Through this sale Vattenfall has divested all of its fossil-based power plants in Denmark.

Vattenfall decides to close Ringhals 1 and 2 nuclear reactors in 2020 and 2019, respectively, five years earlier than previously planned as a result of poor profitability owing to low electricity prices and higher costs.

Vattenfall continues its investments in wind power. The DanTysk offshore wind farm in Germany and the Clashindarroch onshore wind farm in northeast Scotland are inaugurated. Vattenfall and the Swedish pension company AMF sign a partnership agreement under which AMF will take a 49% stake in Vattenfall's Ormonde offshore wind farm in northwest UK.

2016 Vattenfall signs an agreement to sell its lignite operations to the Czech energy company EPH and its financial partner PPF Investments. Vattenfall's owner, the Swedish state, confirms its support of the sale. Vattenfall completes the sale in September 2016 after gaining clearance from the European Commission.

Vattenfall's first large-scale solar farm (5 MW), adjacent to the Parc Cynog wind farm in Wales, is completed and begins generating electricity. Construction of the Horns Rev 3 was starts, at the Horns Rev offshore wind farm (407 MW), off Denmark's west coast. Vattenfall's Sandbank offshore wind farm in Germany (288 MW) commences wind power generation. Vattenfall wins a tender to build two near shore wind farms at two sites off the west coast of Jutland (combined capacity of 350 MW).

Following the government's decision to phase out the nuclear capacity tax pursuant to the country's energy policy agreement, Vattenfall's board of directors decides to invest in independent core cooling in Forsmark's three nuclear reactors.

The InCharge charging network is launched, which Vattenfall is building together with a number of partners in Sweden and Northwest Europe. The network will make it easy to offer electric car charging. Vattenfall inaugurates the first hybrid electric bus route in the Nordic region with wireless bus stop charging in Södertälje, south of Stockholm.

2017 Several innovative collaborative projects are announced – which can cut Sweden's total CO2 emissions by 30 per cent; Vattenfall and Preem agree to investigate the potential of using climate-smart hydrogen gas in large-scale production of biofuel. The HYBRIT initiative – a joint venture for fossil-free steel between SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall. The question of electrifying cement production in order to reduce its environmental impact is examined by Vattenfall and Cementa.

Vattenfall establishes its electricity network, acquires the electricity and natural gas supplier iSupplyEnergy and initiates sales of renewable electricity to large corporate customers in the UK.

Vattenfall's largest onshore wind farm, Pen y Cymoedd in Wales, is inaugurated, along with the offshore German wind farm, Sandbank.
Within the framework of the EV100 initiative, Vattenfall will convert its entire fleet of 3,500 vehicles to electric power over the next five years.

Vattenfall InHouse is launched – smart new energy services for tenant-owner housing associations and property owners in Sweden.

Investment decision for a new, climate smart, gas-fired combined heat and power plant in Berlin and independent core cooling in reactors 3 and 4 at Ringhals nuclear power plant.

Last updated: 2018-05-25 15:44