In 2014, Vattenfall sold, amongst others, the Amager and Fynsværket CHP plants in Denmark, a minority stake in Polish power company Enea and CHP assets in Utrecht in the Netherlands.
"These divestments reduced Vattenfall's CO2 emissions by around 3 million tonnes. The other 3 million tonnes are accounted for by the lower number of operating hours in our fossil-fuelled power plants due to the fact that 2014 was a warm year," says Annika Ramsköld.
Emissions may increase in 2015
In early 2015, the first unit at the German coal-fired power plant in Moorburg, Hamburg, came into commercial operation. The second unit will come into operation later on this year.
According to Annika Ramsköld, this will result in an increase in CO2 emissions this year.
"At the moment, the forecast is for the same level as 2013 - around 88 million tonnes of carbon dioxide."
Sale is crucial
Since 2010, Vattenfall's target has been to reduce its CO2 exposure to 65 million tonnes by 2020.
"Crucial to achieving this target is the sale of our German lignite operations, which would reduce emissions to a level of around 20 million tonnes. Although you could argue that there's no benefit to the environment if somebody else carries on the lignite operations. But it's not up to Vattenfall to decide how individual countries choose to secure their electricity supply."
Growth in renewables
Vattenfall’s Board of Directors has set two additional sustainability targets for the company.
One is that the Group must grow faster than the market within renewable capacity by 2020.
“The goal is being monitored annually, but we have to beat the market on an accumulated basis by 2020. It can vary quite a lot from year to year depending on when new capacity is brought into operation. In 2014, Vattenfall installed 52 MW of renewable capacity; in 2013, the equivalent figure was 145 MW. The Hjuleberg and Bajlum wind farms are included under 2014 but not DanTysk (288 MW), because it wasn't officially completed until January this year. We've known for a long time that the figures for 2013 and 2014 would be a bit low but that they would pick up again in 2015 and 2017."
For 2014, the third sustainability target (to improve energy efficiency) was to save an average of 1 GWh a day through internal and external measures, making a total of 365 GWh for the year.
"The initiatives taken in 2014 resulted in improvements corresponding to around 435 GWh. Amongst other things, we replaced and upgraded turbines in coal-fired power plants, and a number of hydro power measures were also taken. Energy efficiency initiatives also helped reduce emissions in our lignite plants by around 90,000 tonnes of CO2 in 2014. This is a major effort compared with other industrial companies but the figure is relatively small in Vattenfall terms."
"As well as internal energy efficiency improvements, we've helped our customers become more energy efficient through the products and services we've sold them: for example EnergyWatch, E-manager, solar panels and charging services for electric cars," says Annika Ramsköld.
Facts about Vattenfall’s corporate governance from the owner
"Vattenfall's mission is to generate a market rate of return by operating a commercial energy business that will position the company among the leaders in developing environmentally sustainable energy production."