Fortum’s response to environmental organisations’ plea to discontinue the use of coal

A group of environmental organisations have on 8 November 2018 published a joint plea asking Fortum to shut down its own coal-fired power plants and those owned by German Uniper in which Fortum is a minority shareholder.  

Fortum welcomes broad discussion about Europe’s transition to low-carbon energy production in the upcoming decades. The issue is very topical right now as the European Union will soon publish its long-term 2050 climate strategy and the international climate conference COP24 will be held in December.  

We support the EU goal to be carbon-neutral by 2050. In addition to energy production, actions to reduce emissions are also needed in all other sectors of society. The EU and member states must together agree upon a path to realise the transition in a controlled manner without compromising security of energy supply. We also support the further strengthening of EU’s emission trading system. We believe that a well-functioning, market-driven emission trading system is for the society the most economic and, in terms of security of supply, the best way to implement the transition to a lower carbon energy system.  

In every European country where Fortum or Uniper owns coal-fired power plants, a dialogue is under way on national decisions to discontinue the use of coal in energy production. Along with the Nordic countries, these countries include Great Britain, Holland, France and Germany. It is clear that the EU and the countries are steering towards the discontinuation of coal and assessing how they can simultaneously secure energy supply at a reasonable price for their citizens. The companies operating in the sector will respect the decisions these countries make.  

We at Fortum encourage the countries to take into consideration the emissions trading as an EU-level steering mechanism when making decisions. It is especially important to make sure that the impacts of national measures on the EU emission trading system will be compensated by purchasing a corresponding number of emission allowances from the market and cancelling them. This ensures that national decisions will lead to actual emissions reductions rather than just the transferring of emissions from one country to another.  

Fortum owns less than 50 per cent of Uniper’s shares. Uniper is an independently operating listed company in which the operative decisions are made by the acting management.  As a shareholder, we have influence in Uniper’s Supervisory Board on the company’s long-term strategy and on how the company responds to emissions reduction targets, and at the same time, secures the energy supply at a competitive price for its own customers. 

Fortum wants to lead the change towards a low-emissions energy system and the optimal use of resources. The majority of our electricity production is based on CO2-free hydro, nuclear, wind and solar power. At the same time we are investing in future energy and circular economy solutions. In the EU area, we are already meeting the low-emissions target: 96% of our own electricity production in 2017 was CO2-free.