Vattenfall is Germany’s third largest electricity producer providing approximately 13 per cent of the electricity used in the country.
Vattenfall also produces heat and has substantial district heating sales, primarily in Berlin and Hamburg. Vattenfall has approximately 3.2 million network customers and 2.8 million electricity customers in Germany.
Over 90 per cent of Vattenfall’s generated electricity in Germany is based on fossil fuels, mainly from Vattenfall’s own lignite mines. Continuous improvements are being made in production efficiency at the plants. The new block at the lignite-fired plant in Boxberg, Sachsen (inaugurated in October 2012), will together with a new coal-fired plant in Moorburg, close to Hamburg, increase the over-all energy efficiency of the generation portfolio. No additional coal-fired power plants will be built until they can incorporate CCS technology (Carbon Capture and Storage), which will require a clear legislative framework.
New biofuel-fired power plants are planned, two in Berlin and one in Hamburg.
In June 2011, Germany’s parliament’s decided that all 17 of the country’s nuclear power plants are to be closed by 2022 at the latest. The consequence of the decision for Vattenfall is that the Brunsbüttel and Krümmel nuclear power plants, for which Vattenfall has operating responsibility and owns 66.6% and 50%, respectively, may not be restarted.
The German market
Germany is the biggest energy market in Europe and one of the most important energy markets in the world. For example, Germany is
- the sixth largest consumer of oil and natural gas in the world,
- the fourth largest consumer of coal in the world.
Two thirds of the energy consumed in Germany is imported.
Deregulation of the German electricity market took place in 1998. The country’s largest power conglomerates, RWE and Eon, were forced to give up their assets in the former GDR to prevent them from dominating the German power market. Vattenfall acquired a majority of these company holdings.
Vattenfall began working in the German market in 1996 and in 1999 acquired 25.1 per cent in HEW in Hamburg. HEW won the international tender procedure for the majority of shares in Berlin’s electricity company Bewag, the transmission network company Veag and the fuel supplier Laubag. Vattenfall successively increased its ownership and merged all German companies into Vattenfall Europe AG, which is today 100 per cent owned by Vattenfall AB. The transmission network was later disinvested.