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Finland's Fortum commits to net zero European generation by 2035

Highlights

Aims for up to 2 GW new wind, solar by 2025

6 GW of coal plant closures to 2025

New commitment on scope 3 emissions in 2021

London — Fortum aims to be carbon neutral in its European generation business by 2035, build up to 2 GW of new onshore wind and solar capacity by 2025 and close 6 GW of coal plant also by 2025, the Finnish utility said Dec. 3

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In addition, next year the utility will develop a target to reduce the indirect carbon emissions (defined as scope 3 emissions) from its fuel sales business.

"Transforming our own operations to carbon neutrality is a long-standing priority for Fortum," it said.

To accelerate this process the utility has committed to be carbon neutral across all its operations by 2050, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

In European generation, the carbon neutral target was 2035 (i.e. scope 1 and 2 emissions), with a reduction in CO2 emissions from generation of at least 50% by 2030, using 2019 as a base year.

A 6 GW coal closure commitment to 2025 would reduce its existing coal fleet to 5 GW.

Fortum said it would also engage in at least 12 major voluntary measures enhancing biodiversity in 2021 and, as noted, it would work on a new target to reduce indirect emissions linked to its sale of fuels.

The measures in generation include coal-fired plant closures in Germany announced by Fortum subsidiary Uniper of 900 MW at the end of 2020, 1.5 GW by the end of 2022, and a further 0.5 GW by the end of 2025.

The reduction includes closure of Uniper's 2 GW Ratcliffe plant in the UK by the end of 2025 and Fortum's previously announced commitment to end the use of coal in Espoo, Finland, by 2025.

On Dec. 2, Uniper announced the imminent closure of its 900 MW Heyden power plant, five years ahead of schedule, after it was awarded closure compensation in a German government auction.

Meanwhile, environmental law firm ClientEarth Dec. 3 said it was supporting German residents near Uniper's 1.1 GW Datteln 4 coal plant near Dortmund with a legal challenge of the amended plans and approvals in North Rhine-Westphalia that allowed the power station to be built. Friends of the Earth Germany was also taking action against the plant, it said.

Datteln 4 began generation in May. Output is largely tied to long-term supply contracts with, for instance, German rail operator DB Bahn. Under Germany's coal phase-out law, the plant is to close between 2035 and 2038.