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Vattenfall increases emission reduction targets to within 1.5 degrees scenario

Sweden-headed energy utility Vattenfall Group has decided to further increase its emission reduction targets for 2030 and beyond, aiming to reach net-zero by 2040. The new targets are set to help keep global warming at a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius and have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), providing external validation in line with the latest climate science research.

Commissioned in 2015, Vattenfall’s 100 percent hard coal-fired 1 558 MWe and 30 MWth Moorburg combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Hamburg, Germany plays a role for grid stability also with regard to the scope of the further development of renewable energies. The output of the power plant can be increased or reduced by more than 600 MW within 15 minutes. The German Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) has decided to award compensation for a complete phase-out of Moorburg meaning that it can be phased out earlier than planned (photo courtesy Vattenfall).

The climate crisis is for real and not only do we have a responsibility to step up and move fast we also see many opportunities for us at Vattenfall in being a leader in this urgent transition. That is why we at Vattenfall have committed to take action in accordance with IPCC’s conclusions, said Anna Borg, President, and CEO of Vattenfall.

In October 2019, Vattenfall’s climate targets were approved by the SBTi to be in line with the 2 degrees Celsius trajectory. The company has now decided to take another step to reduce emissions even further, aligning with the 1.5 degrees scenario, the most ambitious scenario of the Paris Climate Agreement making it one of the few leading energy companies that have taken this step.

Achieving 2 degrees is not enough. The 0.5-degree difference means the world to us and is a huge step towards a fossil-free living within one generation. Already in 2020, we achieved our 2 degrees SBTi target of reducing absolute CO2 emissions by nearly 40 percent from 2017, ten years ahead of schedule. Now we will continue our accelerated path. This means we will reduce our emissions intensity by over 77 percent from 2017 to 2030. We also commit to a Net Zero by 2040 target, meaning we will achieve net-zero emissions in our full value chain by 2040. It is important that we use our expertise and position in the market to help our customers and suppliers to decarbonize, which is why we also have set a 50 percent emission reduction target for our suppliers of goods and services, Anna Borg said.

SBTi is a joint initiative between Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the UN Global Compact, World Resources Insitute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The collaboration provides a methodology that specifies how much and how quickly companies need to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees.

We are delighted that Vattenfall, one of Europe’s leading energy companies, has taken this bold step and is amongst few European energy companies that have committed to lowering their emissions along the 1.5-degree trajectory. We look forward to seeing the results of this new ambition, said Alberto Carrillo Pineda, Managing Director and Co-Founder of the SBTi.

Vattenfall’s ambitions to reach its 2030 commitment are to:

  • Phase-out coal from all operations by switching the last two coal-fired heat assets, Moabit and Reuter West in Berlin, to a combination of biomass, heat pumps, power-to-heat, and natural gas;
  • Quadruple capacity of wind and solar to the grid compared to what Vattenfall has now in operations;
  • Help partners and society to electrify industrial processes, including in steel, cement, heavy transport, chemicals, and more, enabling emissions reductions beyond Vattenfall’s own value chain;
  • Have 25 times as many electric charging points in operation, compared to 2020.

Vattenfall has also committed to being net-zero along its full value chain in 2040, meaning that in 2040, the company’s steeper decarbonization trajectory will have continued and all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the whole value chain, including emissions from suppliers and customers, will either have been eliminated or offset via negative emissions.

Phasing out coal represents the next phase of our decarbonization journey: we’ve gone from more than 22 million tonnes of CO2 in 2017 to about 12 million tonnes in 2020, and these new investments will give us a flexible, future-proof portfolio of assets that will reduce emissions to under 6 million tonnes in 2030 and will contribute to net-zero operations by 2040, said Annika Ramsköld, Head of Sustainability at Vattenfall.

Vattenfall’s new emission reduction targets are to:

  • Reduce emissions intensity in the company’s operations (Scope 1+2) by more than 77 percent by 2030 compared to 2017 (SBTi approved);
  • Reduce absolute emissions from the use of sold products (Scope 3) by 33 percent by 2030 compared to 2017 (SBTi approved);
  • Reach net-zero by 2040

Up to 2030 and beyond, Vattenfall will reduce its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, in alignment with limiting global warming to 1.5°C (graphic courtesy Vattenfall).

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