Vattenfall, which means waterfall in Swedish, is a state-owned energy company which has existed for over a century, with a firm grasp of the Swedish, Dutch and German markets. It may have a long history in hydroelectric power but in the last few years it has invested about £3.5bn into the UK’s booming wind-power market. Its turbines tower over land and sea, generating enough electricity to power 700,000 British homes. For now, though, Vattenfall provides its low-carbon electricity to British companies through the supply business it set up in the UK last year. Powering British homes comes next. “The change in Britain’s energy system will involve customers much more in the future, so the retail business is the one which brings possibilities for new growth,” he says. It is just days since government ministers called on climate experts to map a pathway to a net-zero-carbon economy. The UK has attracted enough investment in the energy sector to make just over half of all Britain’s electricity low-carbon, but the challenge of cutting emissions from transport, heat and industry has been widely overlooked. Together, these sectors account for 75pc of Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions. They will require a more complex, integrated approach than raising turbines a few hundred feet. These are exactly the possibilities Hall is eyeing. “We see the UK as a market that will offer us huge potential growth opportunities, and they all look at solving the climate issue,” he says. Hall’s vision for a greener Britain is built upon his own experience driving clean growth in his native Sweden. From Vattenfall’s headquarters north of Stockholm, the company has overseen a low-carbon revolution across what was already one of the world’s greenest countries. It is one in which district heating networks keep homes cosy through the bleak northern European winters. Low-carbon energy networks allow for affordable power for electric-vehicle charging and cleaner air. Meanwhile, manufacturing and construction continues to grow, without compromising environmental standards, by harnessing the power of hydrogen. If Hall has his way, this will all be rolling out across the UK in the years ahead. He says there is “increased interest ” in district heating networks. As new housing and business areas are built, developers are looking for cleaner, more efficient ways to keep buildings cosy than the gas radiators which dominate the existing housing stock. District heating uses a dense network of pipes carrying hot water. The energy centre which heats the water can be powered by electric heat pumps, renewable biomass boilers or even solar power and batteries.
Telegraph 22nd Oct 2018 read more »