Vattenfall names CEO, trims R&D

Swedish utility Vattenfall has named a new CEO and said it will scale back its research activities in offshore wind.

Magnus Hall, currenlty CEO of forest group Holmen, will on 1 October take the top job at Vattenfall from Øystein Løseth, who remains in post until then.

Separately, Vattenfall announced a reduction in R&D in several areas, including offshore wind.

Vattenfall said: “Tough market conditions are expected to continue for another few years, and we are restructuring our research and development operations as it is becoming increasingly important to have the right knowledge at the right time to meet the ever-changing needs of business.”

A statement from the company said it will “discontinue its R&D activities regarding coal power with CCS (carbon capture and storage), and close down a number of R&D projects in offshore wind power and gas power”, without giving any further details.

Vattenfall said its future wind-related R&D activities will be “mainly onshore” as well as focused on areas such as smart grids.

The refocusing will affect about 40 staff across Europe with some redundancies expected.

Vattenfall’s headquarters in Sweden has not so far given any more details of the projects affected.

However, a spokesman in the UK said the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) off Aberdeen, Scotland, is not covered by the announcement, as it sits under a different division of Vattenfall, which is the biggest partner in the planned wind turbine test-bed.

The EOWDC – famously opposed by US tycoon Donald Trump – is currently appealing a decision by local planners rejecting proposals for onshore works at the site.