Vattenfall has come a long way since its beginnings in Sweden more than a century ago.
1909 The restructuring of the Trollhättan canal and hydro power plant to the Swedish State Power Board marks the birth of Vattenfall. The Swedish state had bought the water rights in Trollhättan a few years earlier and was now taking an active involvement in this emerging electricity generation technology.
1909–1916 The first large hydro power plants – Olidan, Porjus and Älvkarleby – are built.
1951 Inauguration of the Harsprånget hydro power plant, the world’s largest hydro power plant in many respects. During the same year, the world’s first 400 kilovolt transmission line is put in operation, stretching from northern Norrland to Hallsberg in central Sweden.
1952 The entire Swedish national electricity grid is hooked together.
1954 Vattenfall commissions the world’s first commercial highvoltage direct current line – between the mainland and the island of Gotland.
Ringhals in Sweden.
1975–1976 Vattenfall’s first two nuclear reactors, Ringhals 1 and 2, are commissioned. During the 1970s and ’80s, 12 reactors were built across Sweden, of which seven are owned by Vattenfall.
1992Vattenfall is transformed from a state enterprise to the limited liability company Vattenfall AB. Responsibility for the national grid – the Swedish high-voltage network – is transferred to the newly formed state authority Svenska Kraftnät.
1995 Vattenfall’s board charts out an international growth strategy for Vattenfall.
1996 The Swedish electricity market is deregulated. The electricity grid operations are legally separated from electricity generation and sales.
Boxberg power plant in Germany
1996 Vattenfall’s international expansion is initiated in 1996 through the acquisition of Hämeen Sähkö, a Finnish electricity distribution company. A representative office is opened in Hamburg, and Vattenfall begins working in the German market through the joint venture company VASA Energy.
1998The German electricity market is deregulated in April.
1999 Vattenfall agrees to acquire 25.1% of the shares in HEW from the City of Hamburg, with an option for the city to sell another 25.1% to Vattenfall. The Barsebäck 1 nuclear reactor is decommissioned following a decision by Swedish parliament.
2000 In January, 55% of the Polish heat production company EW is acquired in Warsaw, Poland. In August an agreement is signed with E.ON to acquire a majority shareholding in Berlin’s energy company, Bewag. However, the deal is blocked by the US company Southern Energy (now Mirant).
Co workers in Gliwiche Poland.
2001 In February a 32% stake is acquired in the Polish distribution company GZE. In May Vattenfall becomes a majority owner in HEW through share purchases from E.ON and Sydkraft. Also in May, HEW acquires the electricity generator VEAG, which also owns the electricity grid in eastern Germany, and the lignite producer LAUBAG.
2002 In January Vattenfall acquires all of Mirant’s shares in Bewag. Vattenfall’s various acquisitions in Germany are gathered under the name Vattenfall Europe AG, which is formally established in August through the merger between HEW and VEAG, including LAUBAG. Vattenfall thereby becomes Germany’s third–largest electricity generator.
2003 In January/February, Bewag is merged into Vattenfall Europe AG. Vattenfall increases its stake in the Polish company EW to 70% and in GZE to 54%.
2005 In April, 35.3% of the shares in the Danish company Elsam A/S are acquired. The nuclear reactor Barsebäck 2 is closed 31 May. In August, Vattenfall announces that it has gained possession of more than 95% of the shares in Vattenfall Europe AG and initiates compulsory redemption of the minority owners’ shares.
2006 On 1 January the local German brands HEW and Bewag, and the Polish brands EW and GZE, are replaced with the Vattenfall brand. Vattenfall increases its ownership in both Polish companies to 75%. On 1 July a number of Danish wind power and combined heat and power assets are acquired from the Danish company DONG in exchange for ownership stakes in Elsam A/S and I/S Avedöre 2. Construction begins of a pilot Carbon Capture and Storage plant in Schwarze Pumpe.
Lillgrund offshore wind farm in Sweden.
2007 The Lillgrund wind farm, with 48 turbines, is commissioned and begins delivering electricity at the end of the year.
2008 Vattenfall lays out its strategic direction during the autumn – Making electricity clean. This also summarises Vattenfall’s climate vision – to be climate-neutral by 2050. In September the world’s first pilot CCS plant using oxyfuel technology is inaugurated in Germany. During the autumn Vattenfall acquires several wind power companies in the UK: AMEC Wind Energy Ltd, Eclipse Energy UK Plc, and Thanet Offshore Wind Ltd, the UK’s largest offshore wind farm ready for construction.
2009 On 1 July Vattenfall acquires 49% of Dutch energy company N.V. Nuon Energy, with approximately 6,000 employees, and takes over operative control of the company. Consideration for the remaining 51% will be paid by Vattenfall in three tranches in the coming five years. Vattenfall begins collaborations with car makers (BMW and Volvo) on development of electric and plug-in hybrid cars.
Vattenfall’s 100 years centenary 2009 was celebrated with a broad variety of external and internal activities throughout the year.
2010 In May Vattenfall sells 50Hertz Transmission GmbH, its high voltage transmission grid in Germany. In September Vattenfall announces a new strategic direction and a new, business-led Group organisational structure, which replaces the previous geographically based organisational structure. In September Vattenfall also inaugurates Thanet, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, in the UK.
2011 As a result of the German parliament's decision on 30 June to take all 17 nuclear power plants in Germany out of operation by 2022 at the latest, Vattenfall was forced to impair the book value of its two nuclear power plants, Brunsbüttel and Krümmel, and increase provisions for dismantling and handling nuclear fuel. As part of Vattenfall's strategy, which entails focusing on assets in the core operations, a number of divestments were made during the year. For example, Vattenfalll's Polish, Belgian and parts of the Finnish operations were divested.
2012 On 31 July Vattenfall filed an application with the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) to obtain clarity on the conditions that would apply for the construction of new nuclear power reactors. Effective 1 November, a number of changes were made to Vattenfall’s organisation. Two new Business Divisions were formed, Buisness Division Nuclear Power and Business Division Sustainable Energy Projects. The wind power production unit was integrated in Business Division Production. At an extraordinary general meeting on 28 November, new financial targets were adopted for Vattenfall. In conjunction with this the company presented new sustainability targets.