Vattenfall, the historic Sweden energy company, is now a full-fledged player in France in the renewable energy market.
Urban Chronicles™ offers you the opportunity to learn more about Vattenfall’s zero-carbon strategy and the new energy-related challenges facing the group through our discussions with Henri Reboullet, CEO of Vattenfall France.
Green Soluce: Can you present the Vattenfall group and its positioning in France?
Henri Reboullet: Created in 1909, Vattenfall, a public company owned by the Swedish State, is the historical energy company with a leading position in Swedish’s energy. Vattenfall has been involved in the complete electrification of Sweden and in investments in production (from hydraulic, wind, nuclear, solar energy, etc.), supply and energy services (solutions for electric vehicles, energy consumption control).
Vattenfall is present in the Scandinavian market as well as in 7 European countries (Germany, France, United Kingdom, Sweden, etc.). Following the opening of the French market, we became suppliers of electricity in France in 2000, and of electricity and gas in 2014.
Since the end of 2017, the group is targeted towards all companies, from very small companies to large groups, and since October 2018, we have supplied electricity and gas for the general public.
Our positioning in France is to offer a carbon neutral and inexpensive electricity. Our offer is placed in the best standards on the market in terms of price and is accompanied by a high-quality customer service based in France.
One of the Group’s goals in France is to be both a producer and a supplier of energy, particularly of renewable energy. Vattenfall took part in the RTE’s tender procedure (which oversees and supports the development of electricity consumption cancellation) and will probably be a candidate for other tenders in the coming months.
Green Soluce: Gunnar Groebler, Senior Vice President of the Business Area Wind at Vattenfall, summed up the Group’s ambition as follows: “At Vattenfall, we aim for a carbon-free world within a generation”. How is this strategy applied in Vattenfall’s business, particularly in France?
Henri Reboullet: Our ambition is divided into two main areas:
• Vattenfall has invested exclusively in renewable energies for several years, with investments of between 1 and 2 billion euros each year (offshore wind turbines, solar farms, etc.).
• Vattenfall is also working to electrify a number of industrial processes in order to limit CO2 emissions. In concrete terms, the Group supports industries that emit high levels of CO2, such as steel and cement, in the transformation of their manufacturing processes and in the implementation of new processes. In the steel industry, we support industrial R&D departments to replace the carbon elements in the production chain with hydrogen and to develop low-temperature processes to replace CO2 emitted with water vapour. The technology will be mature in about ten years and cars can be built with this carbon-free steel, costing only 150 € more than a standard car.
All these initiatives are led from Sweden, although Vattenfall France shares these ambitions.
Green Soluce: What are the Group’s major challenges in moving beyond its role as an energy distributor to become a driving force in the energy transition in France and Europe?
Henri Reboullet: Consumption habits are one of Vattenfall’s main challenges. Assuming that a family of 4 people emits around 7 tonnes of CO2 per year, the Group has set up an experiment in Sweden called One Tonne Life in order to reduce the emission of a test family to 1 tonne of CO2 per year. In collaboration with housing and electric car companies, the family moved to a low-energy house, equipped with low-energy heating elements, solar panels and an electric car. Without fundamentally changing the family’s consumption habits, CO2 emissions have been reduced by 4. It means that a drastic reduction in CO2 emissions is possible, by changing underlying trends, keeping in mind that these technologies must become more accessible to all citizens.
Green Soluce: How do new energy-related issues accelerate the construction of more sustainable cities?
Henri Reboullet: Advancing habitat and its environment is a crucial issue. Even if this progress will be long and will depend heavily on local elected officials, we will move towards a much more energy-efficient world. This progress will be possible thanks to the phenomenon of decentralization, which will increase in the next 10 years and lead to the disappearance of large energy production units (nuclear power plants, gas or coal power plant units) in favor of many local renewable energy production tools (solar farms, wind farms) where this energy production will be used locally.
In parallel with this decentralization, Vattenfall is currently working on innovations that enable manufacturers and especially private individuals to control their consumption and thus reduce it. The least polluting energy is the energy that is not consumed therefore controlling the consumption of household equipment is a challenge for future generations.
Green Soluce: How do you see Vattenfall’s role in raising awareness and engaging citizens for a more sober world?
Henri Reboullet: Given our recent arrival on the French market, we carried out a launch campaign to present our ambition to evolve towards a low-carbon positive energy world and to present our offer. In September, we will intensify our communication efforts by launching new campaigns focused on protecting the environment for future generations.
Vattenfall also finances the CEE program co-led by the Sécurité Sociale group and Green Soluce, which works to raise awareness and support a large public institution and its large real estate portfolio in the energy and environmental transition. Issuing our share of Energy Savings Certificates through this type of scheme also promotes our role within society to support the evolution towards a more energy-efficient world with a better control of our consumption. We are delighted to be part of this program.
Interview by Constance Flachaire and Lucille Christien for Urban Chronicles™
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