Vattenfall working for green transformation in Germany

It is roughly one year since Vattenfall sold its four brown coal power plants and four open cast mines in Germany. The state power company was criticised in Germany for shrugging of its environmental and employment responsibilities and in Sweden for selling when brown coal was at its cheapest.

The company is working to abolish coal-powered energy by 2030. German Vattenfall is to invest over EUR 2 billion, around SEK 19 billion over the coming five years. “That is with growth within renewable energy and customer business, growth in distribution of power, gas and heating and redesign of our production park for heating,” says Tuomo Hatakka, head of Vattenfall GmbH, which is counting on the German government continuing to realign to greener energy. (

Malmström surprised by French move

French President François Hollande does not intend to support a trade deal with the USA in its present form, he said at a press conference and demanded that negotiations end.

His comments have surprised European Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, who says, “The negotiations are underway and I have a telephone meeting with the USA’s trade minister today.”

According to Matthias Fekl, France’s trade minister, there is no longer political support for the negotiations and he is planning to propose, at the meeting of trade ministers in Bratislava in September, that the negotiations are ended so that they can start again on a solid foundation. This comes several days after German vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel claimed negotiations had stranded.

Malmström says: “You must remember that in France and Germany, but also in Austria and Belgium, there is very strong opposition to TTIP, and that is affecting the debate and the ministers’ approaches. However the German government is completely behind TTIP and the majority of the countries support it.”

Govt to approve lignite sale

Czech energy company EPH’s bid to acquire state-owned Vattenfall’s German lignite coal assets will mean a loss of at least SKr 22 billion for the Swedish utility company, and the risk of the government being labelled a deserter on climate change. Magnus Hall, chief executive of Vattenfall, is nevertheless optimistic that the government will approve the sale.

Enterprise Minister Mikael Damberg said the government was receiving help from external advisors, in what is a complex financial transaction, adding, “I am very anxious that this should not become some kind of Nuon process.”

According to Vattenfall’s own calculations, its carbon emissions should fall to a level of 23 million tons per year from the current level of 83.8 million per year as a result of the lignite sale.

Pressure on Damberg over brown coal

Pressure on Enterprise Minister Mikael Damberg is building over Vattenfall’s plans to sell off its German lignite operations. On Friday he received a petition with 65,000 signatures from environmental organisation, Greenpeace, demanding the state energy giant Vattenfall does not sell off its German lignite operations, but leaves the coal in the ground.

Damberg said, “The government only gets involved when there is a proposal. Germany decides German energy policy and the country wants to keep coal in its energy mix for a transitional period.”

The government is also under pressure from the Liberal Party, which wants to see a sale go through, but wants to have climate and environmental conditions attached.

Damberg did not wish to answer what action he will take if Vattenfall presents a sale proposition with no environmental conditions attached.