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Vattenfall AB
Type Government enterprise
Founded 1909 as Kungliga Vattenfallsstyrelsen
Headquarters Sweden
Key people President and CEO Lars G Josefsson
Products Energy generation, transmission and sales
Revenue 15.0 billion euros (2009) 24,957 billion USD[1]
Employees 32,801 (2008)

Vattenfall is a Swedish power company and one of the leading energy producers in Northern Europe. The name Vattenfall is Swedish for waterfall, and is an abbreviation of its original name, Royal Waterfall Board (Kungliga Vattenfallstyrelsen). Vattenfall is wholly owned by the Swedish government.

46% of Vattenfall's production is from fossil energy, 28% from nuclear energy, and 24% from hydroelectric energy (as of 2008). Production resources for hydroelectric power is mainly located in Northern Sweden, nuclear power at two plants in Sweden (Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant and Ringhals Nuclear Power Plant) and at two plants in Germany, and gas- and coal-based power in Germany and Poland.

In Germany, Vattenfall is the electric utility for the states of Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Berlin, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, and Saxony. Vattenfall owns two nuclear power plants in the country: Brunsbüttel Nuclear Power Plant and Krümmel Nuclear Power Plant, both located near Hamburg. It also owns a number of coal-fired power stations, including Jänschwalde Power Station, Boxberg Power Station, Lippendorf Power Station (owned in part), Schwarze Pumpe Power Station, and Rostock Power Station (in part).

The first fire in the transformer of the nuclear power plant Krümmel in 2007 forced a closure of the power plant for over two years, while a short circuit in July 2009 in another transformer led to another closure. Due to these incidents the Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein, Peter Harry Carstensen announced that this will be "letzter Versuch" (their last try) before complete closure of the facility.[1]

Vattenfall’s coal-fired power plants account for more than twice as much CO₂-emissions as the rest of Sweden combined, and, if counting their Swedish-owned but foreign-located plants as Swedish, would bring Sweden up to fourth most CO₂-emitting country, counting per capita. In May 2009, Vattenfall was voted the winner of the 2009 Climate Greenwash Awards for "its mastery of spin on climate change, portraying itself as a climate champion while lobbying to continue business as usual, using coal, nuclear power, and pseudo-solutions such as agrofuels and carbon capture and storage (CCS)." [2][3] Vattenfall owns four of the dirty thirty most polluting power stations in Europe.



Vattenfall was operated by Åke Rusck between 1948 and 1957. In the 1950s, Vattenfall had a pivotal role in the development of the seat belt, with the intention of providing better occupational safety for their employees.[4]

Since the late 1990s, Vattenfall has used its operating profit, stemming primarily from its Swedish hydropower facilities, to expand in especially Germany and Poland. The strategy has involved the acquisition of multiple brown coal fired power plants. This has been highly controversial in Sweden due to the status of brown coal as one of the least environmentally friendly alternatives for generating electricity. In addition, brown coal is strip mined in a process that sometimes forces communities to relocate as mining fields expand.[5]

Vattenfall office building in Stockholm

Vattenfall however promotes itself as being on the cutting edge of global energy preservation, which they lay out in an initiative to lower global carbon dioxide emissions. During the year 2007, President and CEO of Vattenfall, Lars G Josefsson, introduced "global burden-sharing" during a presentation at the United Nations. This initiative is intended to provide flexibility between developing and developed nations (report available from Vattenfall: [2]).

On February 23, 2009, Vattenfall announced that they were buying Nuon creating one of the largest power companies in Europe.[6]



  • 1909 - The restructuring of Trollhätte kanal- och vattenverk (Trollhätte canal and waterfall institution) to Kungliga Vattenfallsstyrelsen (Royal Waterfall Board) marks the birth of Vattenfall.
  • 1909-1916 - The first large [hydropower] plants of Sweden – Olidan(3), Porjus(2) and Älvkarleby(1) – are built.
  • 1952 - The entire Swedish national electricity grid is hooked together.
  • 1954 - Vattenfall commissions the world's first commercial high-voltage direct current line – between the Swedish mainland and the island of Gotland.
  • 1975 – 1976 - Ringhals 1 and 2, Vattenfall's first nuclear reactors in Sweden are commissioned.
  • 1992 - Vattenfall becomes a limited liability company Vattenfall AB.
  • 1996 - The Swedish electricity market is deregulated. The electricity grid operations are legally separated from electricity generation and sales.
  • 1996 - Vattenfall expands international with the acquisition of Hämeen Sähkö. A Finnish electricity distribution company. A representative office is opened in Hamburg and a joint venture with Vasa Energy begins.
  • 1999 - Vattenfall agrees to acquire 25,1% of the shares in HEW from the City of Hamburg Germany.
  • 2000 - Vattenfall acquires 55% of the Polish heat production company EW.
  • 2002 - Vattenfall's various acquisitions in Germany are gathered under the name Vattenfall Europe AG and becomes Germany's third-largest electricity generator.
  • 2005 - Vattenfall acquires 35,3% of the shares in Elsam A/S, Denmark.
  • 2006 - Construction begins of a pilot Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) plant at Schwarze Pumpe Germany.
  • 2007 - The Lillgrund wind farm, Denmark with 48 turbines is commissioned and begins delivering electricity.
  • 2008 - Vattenfall launches the Climate Manifesto to support decision makers to take the right decissions at United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009.
  • 2009 - Vattenfall acquires 49% of Nuon to create a leading European energy company - and announce a plan to be climate neutral by 2050.[6]


Vattenfall has power generation in Germany, Poland, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. However Vattenfall has business globally in 90 different countries around the world with its consultancy company in the energy and power sector, Vattenfall Power Consultant.


Vattenfall generates Electricity by hydropower (24%), nuclear power (28%), fossil fuel (47%) and smaller proportions of wind power (1%), biofuel and waste.[7]

Main areas of operations are electricity, heat and transmission. Vattenfall supplies energy to 4.8 million customers in the Nordic countries and northern Europe. How the power and heat is generated is based on the particular conditions in each country. Conditions vary due to differences in natural resources and history. In Sweden and Finland, conditions allow Vattenfall to rely manly on hydro and nuclear power. The available sources in Germany and Poland are mainly based on fossil fuels.

  • Vattenfalls wind power generating increased by 117% during 2007, with the Lillgrund wind farm off the coast of Malmö, Sweden, being taken into operation, with 48 turbines and a total installed capacity of 110 MW and a generation output equivalent to the electricity consumption of 60,000 Swedish homes. Most of Vattenfall's wind power plants are in Denmark and Sweden, including the worlds largest offshore wind farm at Horns Rev off the Danish coast of Esbjerg, which is 60%-owned by Vattenfall. Vattenfall also operates one of the biggest wind farms in Poland. In 2008, a number of wind power acquisitions were made in the UK[8], Thanet[9] and Kentish flats .
Vattenfalls hydroelectric power plant Stornorrfors in Sweden
  • Hydrolectric power produces essentially no carbon dioxide or other harmful emissions. It now supplies about 715.00 megawatts or 19% of world electricity[10]. Vattenfall, in Swedish translates to Waterfall, has 92 water power stations in Sweden and 10 in Finland.

Research and development

The car seatbelt

The story behind the safety belt is contrary to common beliefs not credited to Saab or Volvo. Fatal car accidents was rapidly increasing in Sweden during the 1950s. As a study at Vattenfall for accidents among the employees revealed that the majority of casualties came from car accidents two of the Vattenfall engineers Bengt Odelgard and Per-Olof Weman started to develop the safety belt. Their work set the standard for safety belt in Swedish cars as it was presented to Volvo in the late 50s.[11]

Technology for climate smart vehicles

Vattenfall is part of a Swedish industrial initiative to speed up the development of next generation's hybrid vehicles, which may be charged with electricity directly from the socket and driven longer distances on electricity, plug-in hybrid. For Vattenfall, this project entails the development and testing of electricity infrastructure and various charging alternatives. Solutions should be user friendly and flexible enough to ensure charging a plug-in hybrid is easier than filling your car at a petrol station today.

Electric vehicles will not require any extensive infrastructure development, as Sweden's power grid has sufficient capacity and an ordinary power point can be used to charge a plug-in hybrid. Sweden also has enough production capacity to meet the increased demand for electricity that would arise, in both the short and the long-term. For instance, Vattenfall's Lillgrund wind farm with 48 wind turbines could supply enough electricity to power 147,000 vehicles that drive 15,000 kilometres a year using electricity 75 percent of the time[12]. The project partners are Vattenfall, Volvo Cars and ETC AB. Funding is also being provided by the Swedish Energy Agency.

Carbon capture and storage

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the method of capturing carbon dioxide from flue gas, compressing it into liquid form and storing it deep underground in suitable geological formations. Since 2001, Vattenfall has been working on developing methods for capturing CO2 from large coal-fired power plants and storing it underground. Development of safe, cost-efficient and viable technologies can contribute to drastic reductions of CO2-emissions. This work includes all parts of the chain - capture, transport and storage. Another important part of the project is to identify and assess the environmental impact that capture, transport and storage of CO2 entails.

Future production technology

Vattenfall is evaluating several ocean energy technologies, such as wave- and salinity power as well as tidal and marine current technologies. Substantial research is in progress and considerable demonstration activities are initiated around the world. Most of the attention is focused on wave energy, which is estimated to be the next renewable technology to be commercialised (after wind power). Globally, the potential for wave energy is enormous and ranges from 6 000 to 15 000 TWh per year. In the EU countries alone, the annual potential along the European west coast is estimated to 2000 TWh.[13]


Vattenfall is investing strongly in efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and to limit the environmental effects resulting from the use of different energy sources. Renewable energy, new technology, energy efficiency, pre-drying of lignite and restoration of landscape are some of the projects.

Renewable energy

Vattenfall strive to increase the use of biomass fuels as principal fuel and as part of the fuel mix. At the Midtfyn plant in Danish Odense, construction is in progress for a new straw-fuelled co-generation boiler with a capacity of 35 MW of electricity and 84 MW of heat. At the Amager plant in Copenhagen an existing coal-fuelled co-generation plant is being converted to a straw-fuelled plant. In Sweden and Finland, plants are being upgraded to increase the proportions of biomass fuels and to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Vattenfall's biggest investment is in wind power plants, where the aim is a production of 8 TWh until 2016.

Ocean energy

Vattenfall is taking part in international studies and tests to stay at the front edge of the ocean energy technology development. Interesting technologies are being tested outside the coasts of Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Ireland. These wave based energy sources are estimated to be commerial profitable around the year 2020, at the earliest. Apart from wave power Vattenfall is also assessing several other ocean energy technologies, such as salinity power, tidal power and marine current technologies.

New technology

In September 2008, Vattenfall commissioned the world's first Oxyfuel pilot plant[14] for CCS – Carbon capture and storage. The pilot plant is located in Schwarze Pumpe, Germany and uses oxyfuel technology to capture carbon dioxide from coal combustion. Vattenfall have also started investigations for converting one existing CHP plant block at Nordjyllandsvaerket [15] to a CCS demonstration plant. The aim is to take the demonstration plant into operation 2013.

In December 2009 Vattenfall announced a joint-venture with Scottish company Pelamis Wave Power to develop a 20MW wave power project off the coast of Shetland, Scotland. The project will potentially use 26 Pelamis P2 machines.[16]

Energy efficiency

Vattenfall is investing in modern technology, higher safety and better environmental performance in many production plants as well as replacing old plants with new, modern and more efficient ones. During 2007, construction started on a new lignite fired power plant in Boxberg, Germany. Vattenfall has also received permission to build an entirely new coal-fuelled CHP plant in Moorburg, Hamburg.[17] These new power plants will have significantly better operating efficiency and environmental performance compared to older plants. The older plants’ electricity production will thus become redundant.[18]

In the Swedish nuclear power plants Ringhals and Forsmark, reinvestments are being made to modernise and adapt operations to new safety and environmental requirements. This will contribute to an increase in production capacity by a total effect of about 1000 MW[17].

Pre-drying of lignite

In southern Germany, Vattenfall has a project in progress aimed at developing technology for drying lignite prior to combustion. By burning pre-dried lignite instead of natural lignite, with approximately 50 per cent moisture content, as is done today, the operating efficiency can be increased significantly and therefore save energy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.[19] Estimations are that the technology will be ready for full-scale demonstrations within 10 years.[20]

Restoration of landscape

Vattenfall sees mining and recultivation as two phases of the same operation. The ongoing recultivation programmes in Lausitz, Poland and Brandenburg, Germany are based on well-established models that ensure ecological stability and multifunctional use.

Curbing climate change

To provide a fact base for discussions about reducing emissions of GHG, Vattenfall and McKinsey & Company conducted studies and created a global GHG abatement database that was published in 2007. In January 2009 McKinsey launched a second and updated edition of this study, Pathways to a low-carbon economy[21].

Vattenfall's 100-year plan for a low carbon emitting society

Vattenfall has proposed a framework leading to a low carbon emitting society. The most pressing need is to create a credible, stable and predictable long-term global framework defining how reductions will be achieved. To address this challenge, Vattenfall has outlined a global adaptive burden-sharing model for a low carbon emitting society.

The model is built on the following principles:

  • All countries should participate - participation is a part of being a member of the global community.
  • Emission allowances are allocated to each country in relation to its share of global GDP.
  • Emission caps should be binding.
  • No poor country shall be denied its right to economic development - no extra cost burden on the poorest.
  • No rich country shall have to go through disruptive change.
  • Richer countries pull a larger weight (emission caps do not embrace countries until they have reached a certain economic level; poorer countries with caps get higher allocations compared to richer countries).
  • There shall be a level playing field. The proposed framework shall not change relative competitiveness.
  • The system shall be robust. As new knowledge is accumulated parametres may change, but not the principles underlying the system[22].

Vattenfall to be climate-neutral by 2050

Vattenfall’s climate vision is to be a climate-neutral company by 2050. Achieving this climate vision requires that Vattenfall can reduce its CO2 emissions from existing operations while at the same time dramatically increasing its generation of electricity with very low CO2 emissions. The new electricity generation capacity needed to realise the company’s climate vision will be derived from renewable energy sources, such as wind power, bioenergy, ocean energy and non-renewable energy sources, such as coal power using the new CCS technology, and nuclear power.

At present, renewable sources of energy account for a small part of the world’s electricity generation, but they are growing increasingly important against the backdrop of the major climate challenge the world is facing. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), approximately 18% of the world’s total energy generation is based on renewable sources (2006 figures), of which hydro power accounts for nearly 90%. Most of the world’s total electricity generation is based on fossil fuels which accounted for nearly two-thirds of generation in 2006, while nuclear power accounted for approximately 15%. The EU’s target is that 20% of total energy supply will be derived from renewable sources by 2020, compared with today’s level of slightly more than 8% [23]. In the Nordic countries Vattenfall has a comparatively high percentage of renewable energy in its electricity generation mix due to an abundance of hydro power.[24]

Combate Climate Change, 3C - A business leaders’ initiative

The 3C initiative “Combat Climate Change” stems from Vattenfall's proposal for a low carbon emitting society. Vattenfall is responsible for coordinating the 3C initiative that aims at forming a global opinion group consisting of companies showing leadership by demanding an integration of climate issues into the world of market and trade. More than 50 international companies have already signed up.[25]

The Climate manifesto

Vattenfall's initiative the climate manifesto[26] aims to empower the general public. By signing the climate manifesto the public can support the decision makers to take the decisions that needs to be taken in order to combat climate change. Vattenfall believes that the world needs structural changes of the system we all are a part of as individuals, consumers and voters. The primary structural changes are compressed into three vital policy points that together form the “climate manifesto” for combating climate change.

  • 1. We need a global price on CO2 emissions
  • 2. We need more support for climate friendly technologies
  • 3. We need to implement climate requirements for products

Vattenfall made each signature turn into a figure that went on a tour of Europe starting in Brussels and ending at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznan 2008.[27] The figures formed an immense visual impact showing the decision makers peoples support. Over 230.000 individuals signed the manifesto (April 2009). The new climate agreement between the UN-members is to be set in December 2009 at COP 15[28] held in Copenhagen.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Vattenfall sponsorship ambitions cover the areas sport, cultural, humanitarian and environmental concerns. Vattenfalls programmes aim to support initiatives in communities where it operates and promotes the importance of accountability in Vattenfalls working culture. In 2008, Vattenfall spent SEK 195 million on voluntary contributions, including donations.[29]

The combat climate change! School competition

Vattenfall’s partnership with the National Geographic Society have two main elements – a pan-European school competition and a multi-media partnership.[30]

World Childhood Foundation

Vattenfall is a Major Partner to the World Childhood Foundation,[31] the humanitarian organisation working to defend the rights of the child and to promote better living conditions for vulnerable and exploited children at risk across the world. The World Childhood Foundation was founded in 1999 by H. M. Queen Silvia of Sweden.[32]

Clean up the world

Vattenfall is a sponsor of Clean Up the World in Poland, a community-based environmental campaign that inspires and empowers communities from every corner of the globe to clean up, fix up and preserve the local environment. In collaboration with the primary partner – the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)Clean Up the World brings together businesses, community groups, schools and governments in a range of activities and programmes that are making improvements to local environments[33].

World Championships in Athletics Berlin 2009

Vattenfall will be a national partner for the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics berlin 2009. Klaus Wowereit, the mayor of Berlin, presented Vattenfall as strong partner for the World Championships in Athletics and the state of Berlin.[34]

Local sponsorships

Vattenfall is a main sponsor for a number of local projects in Sweden. Vattenfall is the official sponsor of the Ski Team Sweden supporting the various national teams as well as local enterprises. In Germany, Vattenfall sponsors the Vattenfall Cyclassics an annual one-day pro and amateur cycling race in and around Hamburg.

Subsidiary companies

  • Vattenfall Europe AG
  • Biq Location Development and Real Estate Services

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^\09\12\352231%26sectionid%3DEttan
  4. ^ Andréasson, Rune; Claes-Göran Bäckström (2000.). The Seat Belt : Swedish Research and Development for Global Automotive Safety. Stockholm: Kulturvårdskommittén Vattenfall AB. p. 9. ISBN 91-630-9389-8.  
  5. ^ (Swedish)
  6. ^ a b "Vattenfall - press release". Cision Wire. Retrieved 2009-02-23.  
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Andriasson, Rune; Claes-Gvran Bdckstrvm (2000.). The Seat Belt : Swedish Research and Development for Global Automotive Safety. Stockholm: Kulturverdskommittin Vattenfall AB. p. 9. ISBN 91-630-9389-8.  
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Energy pairing on the crest of a wave". Retrieved 2009-12-16.  
  17. ^ a b
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  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^

External links


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