Sustainability in action

Sweden, London and the UN's development goals

The climate crisis is one of the biggest threats to the way we live today - but equally, the way we live (or, more accurately, by changing some of the ways we live) can have a huge impact on tackling this emergency.

Such changes are set out in the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which were outlined back in 2015. These are effectively a blueprint to achieving a better and more sustainable future, and they address a range of issues including the environment and climate action.

Business, and the energy industry in particular, has a major role to play in helping to meet these goals, in some ways by acting as a link between people and homes, businesses and the communities in which they live and work. By linking into communities, and bringing together various partners, we can grow those networks of sustainable energy sources and make it easier for other sectors to switch to cleaner energy sources and ensure a more sustainable future for all.

Affordable, clean energy

We believe we're particularly well placed to help the UN meet its goal to deliver affordable and clean energy, known as SDG7.

Two ground-breaking projects in Sweden demonstrate our commitment to delivering renewable energy at a large scale - across whole communities and even cities - and how we are on target for the 2030 deadline.

In Hyllie, a district of Malmö on Sweden's southern coast, we have switched the power sources to wind, solar, biomass and waste. It will be 100% powered by sustainable energy this year, up from 36% in 2010.

Waste to energy

At Högbytorp, just outside Stockholm, we've invested 230 million euros into a new recycling plant. A combined heat and power (CHP) plant takes care of any materials unable to be reused or recycled and uses them to generate more sustainable electricity and heat for a growing region. A biogas plant at the site is converting the region's food and other organic waste into biogas. This is a renewable alternative to petrol and diesel that reduces vehicle carbon dioxide emissions by up to 90%. The plant turns any remaining waste into biofertiliser for use in agriculture.

Sustainable cities and communities

Creating affordable and sustainable transport systems is another key factor in the development goals and one we've been working towards in Sweden and elsewhere too. In 2010 for example, there were no public electric vehicle charging points in Hyllie. Today, thanks to our investment in the area there are 37 public charging stations and one public biogas filling facility.

At full capacity, the Högbytorp biogas plant will provide sustainable fuel for 4,500 vehicles.

Effective waste management is another crucial element of the development goals and our Högbytorp plant now has capacity to manage 41% of Stockholm's residual waste treatment demand and 19% of Stockholm's organic waste treatment demand.

Responsible consumption and production

Our Hyllie initiative was charged with enabling and achieving more responsible consumption, another of the UN's goals. In 2010, half of Malmö's household waste could not be recycled or reused. Our Hyllie programme has seen this figure drop by around 15%.


Climate action

These game-changing initiatives are now being used as a model for sustainable energy drives elsewhere. We’ve recently been appointed as a commercial and technical advisor to a revolutionary low carbon smart energy grid planned for locations in central London and the West Midlands. Led by a consortium of 16 partners including E.ON, GreenSCIES (Green Smart Community Integrated Energy System) will harness waste heat from things like office buildings, data centres and even the public transport network and share it locally as a lower impact and lower cost transport, power and heat source.

Earlier this year, we signed a 50-year agreement with the landowner of 635 acres near Bristol to provide renewable and low carbon energy solutions for its smart campus, Gravity, which is currently under development. Gravity is making a clear commitment to delivering clean growth in the UK and its design responds to the shifting global trends in consumption, energy use, automation and digitalisation. E.ON’s role as energy partner is a key part of this, as it will deliver an alternative to standard utility grid connections by providing an on-site, integrated energy service through lower carbon and resilient power, heating, and cooling systems.

The new smart energy grid will provide an answer to the challenges of powering inner cities of the future and combating the climate crisis, revolutionising the way we live and transforming lives, homes and businesses into sustainable energy districts.




Posted May 2020