Winner of the 2018
Award for Leadership
in New Energy

The winner of the 2018 Award for Leadership in New Energy is Swedish company Vattenfall, which stands out from its peers with bold actions to transition its business model toward cleaner alternatives.

The utility – due to celebrate ten-years in the UK next month [October] – is working towards being fossil fuel-free within a generation and to stop using coal by 2030. After selling lignite assets in Germany, Vattenfall has drastically reduced its carbon emissions from more than 80 million tons/ year in 2013 to just over 20 mt in 2017.

The Swedish utility is active in many renewables spheres, including offshore wind, onshore wind and hydropower. It has also dipped its feet in solar and battery storage, often marrying technologies together to alleviate intermittency issues. With offshore wind, Vattenfall has said it is comfortable vying for projects even without subsidies.

"Vattenfall is tackling many of the roadblocks of the energy transition head-on, with innovative solutions to bring down costs, build necessary infrastructure and manage intermittency,” said Lauren Craft, editor of EI New Energy. "It has gone far beyond words to deliver concrete solutions – even in spheres outside its traditional areas of expertise – for the fast-changing energy economy.”

"Once we targeted being free from fossil-fuels in a generation, our clear purpose prompted a company-wide shift towards low carbon energy production and consumption. This means that our investment in new electricity capacity is focused towards renewables across Vattenfall’s northern European markets," said Vattenfall's President and CEO, Magnus Hall. "Of course, we are building on a 100-year hydro legacy in Sweden, but we have much more to do. We know that we must engage our colleagues, forge new partnerships and be on the cutting edge in the shift towards fossil-free energy. Vattenfall is shaping its energy business so that our children will be better able to live within the planet’s limits."

The utility, which stresses it will take more than just renewables to phase out fossil fuels, is also pushing electrification and digitalization in sectors besides electricity, including its Hybrit collaboration to decarbonize steel production.

Vattenfall has set ambitious goals to become one of Northwest Europe's biggest providers of charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) within five years. It hopes to build on expertise gained in Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, where it already operates 8,800 charging stations, to double its charging network capacity each year. Furthermore, Vattenfall plans to electrify, or replace with hybrids, its own fleet of 3,500 vehicles by 2022.