BERLIN, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Swedish state-owned energy company Vattenfall wants to continue as a major player in Germany’s energy market even though it has put lignite power plants and mines there up for sale, Chief Executive Magnus Hall said on Monday.
He added that there will be no changes to the decision to sell the lignite operations in Germany despite a snap election for March called in Sweden after the Social Democrat-Green coalition’s budget was voted down last week.
“This decision will, we believe, be supported by both sides (of the political spectrum in Sweden),” Hall told reporters in Berlin.
Hall in late October announced the plan to sell the German assets, which people familiar with the industry said could fetch 2 billion to 3 billion euros ($3.7 billion).
“It’s important to emphasise that Vattenfall remains committed to all its other activities in Germany,” he said, referring to power distribution, trade and renewable energy activities.
“Germany will remain the most important market for Vattenfall even after the sale of the lignite business,” he said, adding that he hoped the sale process could move forward as quickly as possible.
Vattenfall generates about 60 terawatt-hours (TWh) from lignite annually, about 10 percent of Germany’s total power production. The Swedish company has said it is committed to other operations in Germany, including heat production, trading and wind power.
Germany, in the midst of a shift to renewable energy from nuclear, is under pressure from a strong green lobby to cut its reliance on coal, which accounts for some 45 percent of power. ($1 = 0.8121 euros) (Reporting by Gernot Heller; Writing by Erik Kirschbaum; editing by Jane Baird)