Vattenfall to invest $1.9 bln in wind energy in 2017-2018

Vattenfall will invest 17 billion crowns ($1.94 bln) in onshore and offshore wind power during 2017-2018, the state-owned utility said on Tuesday.

Spending on wind power will account for 60 percent of an investment programme worth 28 billion crowns, highlighting a strategic shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Most of the rest of the funds will go on solar power and distribution.

The company aims to commission 2,300 megawatts (MW) or more of new renewable capacity in the five years to 2020. It added 297 MW last year, including the 216 MW Sandbank offshore wind park in Germany, it said in a report.

“Fossil fuels are not a viable long-term option, either for a world committed to solving the climate problem or as part of the Vattenfall of tomorrow,” Chief Executive Magnus Hall said.

The company sold most of its lignite, or brown coal, plants in Germany last year. Hall said it would phase out its remaining coal power operations, which included converting the Klingenberg lignite-fired power plant in Berlin to gas by 2021.

Excluding lignite generation, Vattenfall aims to cut carbon emissions to below 21 million tonnes by 2020 from 23.2 million tonnes and become carbon neutral in Nordic countries by 2030.

Including its lignite plants, CO2 emissions in 2016 amounted to 67.7 million tonnes.

Most of the firm’s generation in Nordic nations already comes from carbon-free hydro, nuclear and wind power generation.

Vattenfall plans to shut down its two oldest nuclear reactors in Sweden, Ringhals-1 and Ringhals-2, by 2020. It will keep its remaining five reactors at Ringhals and Forsmark power plants in operation, some until the mid-2040s.