During the past year the world has experienced the worst financial crisis and recession of modern times. This situation has presented Vattenfall with major challenges. Despite this, however, 2009 has been relatively satisfactory.
In this challenging climate, Vattenfall has reached a number of strategic positions for the future. Some examples of these are:
- Within offshore wind power we are one of the world’s two most prominent players, with more than 25 per cent of Europe’s offshore wind farms. During the coming year the wind farm Thanet Offshore Wind in the UK will become operational.
- Our Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) demonstration plant at Jänschwalde topped the EU Commission’s list of 15 energy projects being supported by the economic recovery programme.
- Through our collaboration with Volvo in the development of a plug-in hybrid car and the demonstration project with BMW in Berlin, we have attained a leading position within e-mobility to increase the utilisation of electricity within the transport sector.
- We are also on the way to becoming leaders within biomass fuels. The short-term goal is to achieve a fuel usage of 5 TWh by signing up to one million tonnes of biomass fuel and planning for a further one million tonnes.
- We have completed the large expansion relating to the acquisition of Nuon, thereby gaining a new market and new competence within the area of gas.
All of these are important steps in realising our Making electricity clean strategy goals.
At the same time it is important that our continuing operations function well and that our customers and other interested parties are satisfied. Important efforts have also been made, and are being made, here.
The modernisation of nuclear power
Complex audits have been carried out at Ringhals during 2009. A comprehensive programme of modernisation is being carried out in our nuclear area to secure operations for several decades to come. We are investing in new transformers, generators, turbines and safety systems, as well as in a better environment.
Approximately one third involves increasing capacity. This is the most comprehensive new investment programme in Swedish nuclear power since the introduction of nuclear power.
Regrettably some aspects of this work experienced delays and some reactors could not be taken into operation in time for the winter season. This is unfortunate, but there are valid reasons for the delays.
We are losing significant income when the reactors are out of operation. Even if the prices on the spot market are at record highs for a few hours, there is not much to gain from this, as the vast majority of Vattenfall’s production is sold at a fixed price.
Almost all companies and major industries (those who have experience of the electricity market) have guaranteed prices, through Vattenfall or by other means. Our private customers are also able to sign fixed price contracts.
It is important to recognise that the electricity supply set-up has worked well during this time.