The National Audit Office is the government authority which reviews what public funds are spent on and how effectively they are used.
On Thursday 23 April, the National Audit Office published the conclusions of its audit of the prerequisites for achieving Vattenfall's environment-related sustainability targets.
In the report the authority evaluates both the measures for achieving two of the sustainability targets – reducing emissions of CO2 to 65 million tonnes by 2020 and the target of growing faster than the market in renewable capacity up to 2020 - and the Government's management of the company.
Promises too much
According to Auditor General Claes Norgren,”Vattenfall is not planning and implementing measures which will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide to such an extent that the company can demonstrate that it is competitive and leads the way on energy transition and is thereby contributing to the EU's climate and energy targets. Also, the Government has not managed Vattenfall effectively enough to ensure that the prerequisites for a long-term return on public funds can be guaranteed.”
Vattenfall's Head of Sustainability Annika Ramsköld comments the National Audit Office's report:
"To some extent it's a true reflection of Vattenfall's business historically. But the most important thing is the direction the company has set itself for the future, with greater customer focus and a transition to a more sustainable energy portfolio in accordance with the owner's corporate mandate."
She explains that sustainability work is an integral part of Vattenfall’s strategy and a long-term commitment which is taken very seriously:
"We had high hopes of being able to use CCS technology to capture and store carbon dioxide in order to achieve the emissions target of 65 million tonnes by 2020. But in Germany this proved to be politically impossible. The only way we can achieve the emission target now is to sell off our fossil operations."
"At the same time, we're helping to achieve the EU's climate targets through investments in renewables which, little by little, are taking the place of fossil power. 10 billion kronor has been set aside in the investment plan up to 2018 for growth investments in renewable energy. Our target of growing faster than the market in renewable capacity up to 2020 is reviewed annually. It can vary quite a lot from year to year depending on when new capacity is brought into operation. If we'd included DanTysk for 2013 and 2014 on an aggregate basis, we'd have ended up with a growth rate of just over 14 per cent, i.e. higher than the market," says Annika Ramsköld.