Focus on a sustainable world

As part of all Vattenfall's operations, we make continuous efforts to minimise our impact on the environment. Here are some examples of our environmental work.

Cat fish and sea trout climb up the river Elbe

Preservation of biodiversity

Scientific support for North Sea porpoises

Foundation for environmental conservation

Bra Miljöval (Good environmental choice) twice as good for the environment

First in the world to have certified environmental declarations

District heating will achieve Berlin's environmental goals

Modern wastewater treatment plant in Forsmark

Photo of the fish ladder in Geesthacht

Cat fish and sea trout climb up the river Elbe

In the Elbe River in Geesthacht, south-east of Hamburg, approximately 300,000 fish move up a fish ladder each year. This is important to ensure the fish will reach their spawning grounds upstream. 

The ladder was opened in September 2010, as a compensation measure following the construction of a new coal power plant at Moorburg, 35 kilometers downstream from the Geesthacht weir area.

As each fish is counted, we know that approximately two million fish have now migrated on the ladder. The fish ladder has been designed to enable the migration of more than 100 fish species, including the up to 3.5 metre long sturgeon.

In Sweden, more than 12,000 salmon can now migrate past our power plant in Stornorrfors (Ume River) each year using one of Europe’s most modern fish ladders.

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Preservation of biodiversity

Moonwort, red baneberry, melancholy thistle and ramalina thrausta. It sounds like poetry, but is actually a list of rare plants in our preservation area in Porsi outside Vuollerim.

The hydro power developments in Lule River’s valley involve substantial effects on the local environment. Around Porsi power plant there are rare species and habitats of national interest. In order to preserve them, Vattenfall has installed four preservation sites for areas with valuable natural environments, in which we are preserving biodiversity and recreating conditions for unique plants and birds.

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Cattle in a field

Foundation for environmental conservation

Vattenfall Umweltstiftung supports environmental projects in Germany.

The projects focus on urban areas, environmental education and water-related issues such as re-naturalisation projects. Non-profit organisations, such as schools, associations and nature protection groups and organisations can apply for grants.

In 2015, for example, the foundation supported a project in the Lusatia region in which a highly overgrown grassland near the Schlabendorfer See lake was cut back. Both sheep and Galloway cattle now have natural grazing land in the area. And the grassland has thus regained its ecologically important status.

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Scientific support for North Sea porpoises

Porpoises are small whales and among the smaller marine mammals in the North Sea. The species is endangered, predominantly because it gets caught in fishing nets.

The porpoise relies on sound to locate its prey and also to communicate and navigate. There is therefore a concern that noise from shipping and other activities in the marine environment, such as wind power, could have a negative impact on the porpoise population.

In order to increase knowledge, Vattenfall has initiated and financed a major research study of the North Sea porpoise in collaboration with other wind power developers. The study is conducted by Aarhus University and focuses on improving knowledge of how the population is affected by human activities.

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Two men working at Flarkån

Bra Miljöval (Good environmental choice) twice as good for the environment

For each kilowatt hour sold from hydro power labelled as Bra Miljöval, we donate 0.15 Swedish öre to the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) environmental fund.

In consultation with the SSNC, the fund provides money for actions that reduce the impact of hydro power on the environment or that result in significant energy efficiency improvements.

Vattenfall also sells electricity from wind power labelled as Bra Miljöval. Between 2013 and 2015, the environmental fund has, as an example, helped restore the Lule River tributary, Flarkån, which was heavily affected by the timber floating era. Spawning grounds and beach environments have been recreated for the benefit of grayling, trout and the endangered freshwater pearl mussel.

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First in the world to have certified environmental declarations

Through the certification of Luleå River in 1999, Vattenfall became the first company in the world to have an environmental declaration certified in accordance with the international EPD® system, Environmental Product Declaration.

We now offer electricity from wind, hydro and nuclear power with environmental declarations.

Electricity being supplied with environmental declarations means that the customer receives a traceable, transparent and comparable picture of the product’s environmental impact. We can account for the total environmental impact from extraction to final use for each kilowatt hour.

In 2015 we further developed our environmental declarations for hydro and wind power to also include social aspects. This is something completely new and we are the only company to do this in the Nordic region.

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District heating will achieve Berlin's environmental goals

Our new combined heat and power (CHP) plant Lichterfelde in the south-west of Berlin will provide 100,000 households with district heating.

Replacing an older CHP plant from the early 1970th at the same site, the new plant is an important factor in helping Berlin to achieve its ambitious climate objectives.

The new CHP plant, which combines gas and steam turbines, has a high efficiency and therefore a lower impact on the environment. By doing this, we are taking a big step towards keeping the promises we made to the city: to halve our carbon dioxide emissions.

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Modern wastewater treatment plant in Forsmark

The former wastewater treatment plant in Forsmark is set to make way for the deep repository of spent nuclear fuel that SKB intends to build. Forsmark has therefore developed a completely new, modern wastewater treatment plant.

Treatment of wastewater and the handling of sludge meant there was a risk of emissions of the greenhouse gases nitrous oxide and methane, as well as water-soluble phosphorus and nitrogen. Nitrous oxide and methane respectively affect the climate 298 and 25 times as much as carbon dioxide.

We therefore chose to build the new treatment plant in Forsmark in accordance with the principles for biological treatment. It consists of mechanical, biological and chemical treatment steps. We can now process 60 cubic metres of water at a time. The process ends in a dam with aquatic plants for final sedimentation and nitrogen absorption. Pure and clear water is left behind.

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Last updated: 2016-08-11 13:27