Sweden’s wind energy industry is growing rapidly. This growth is based both on the country’s ambitious renewable and sustainable goals and on the EU Renewables Directive that has set a target for Sweden to produce 49% of its electricity through renewable energy sources by 2020. As a result of this directive, the Swedish Government has set its own goals for creating 30TWh of new wind electricity by 2020. Of this 30TWh, 20TWh will be built onshore and 10TWh offshore.
Sweden is an excellent setting for wind farms for several reasons. It is a big country with a relatively small population, which means many of the turbines can be located onshore, far away from densely populated areas, in wind-rich regions. The wind conditions are predominantly good in the north and Sweden has long coastlines where conditions for wind turbines are exceptional. Sweden does not have any large-scale domestic wind turbine manufacturers, so the wind turbines for larger wind farms are supplied by foreign companies.
There are good opportunities for US wind turbine and component manufacturers as well as project management consultants.
The EU Renewables Directive was designed to increase the production of renewable energy in the EU with target goals for all of the member countries. Sweden’s goal is to have 49% of all the electricity consumed come from renewable sources by 2020 (the highest target in the EU). The operating strategy of the wind energy industry in Sweden is primarily based on the EU Renewables Directive and the Swedish government’s objectives thereof. The Swedish Energy Agency’s target for wind power production in 2020 is 30 TWh, of which 20 TWh would be onshore and 10 TWh offshore. In order for this goal to be manageable, several economic and other regulatory factors need to be modified. Among other things, the currently time-consuming licensing process for wind farms needs to be streamlined and there needs to be a one-stop-shop within the different authorities for wind power investors.
The 30 by 20 goal means that the number of wind turbines would have to increase from 1156 in 2008 to 3000-6000 in 2020, depending on the size and efficiency of the turbines. There are already some large wind farm projects underway and many in the planning stages.
There is a demand for both onshore and offshore wind turbines. Many of the largest onshore wind farms will be built in northern Sweden. The land there is mostly covered with forests and very sparsely populated. The majority of the planned offshore wind farms are located in southern Sweden and on the west coast near the islands of Öland and Gotland. One of these projects, Kriegers Flak, is being developed in cooperation with Denmark and Germany. Currently, each country is building their own portions, but there are plans to connect the farms, which would make this the world’s first transnational offshore wind farm.
By Sebastian Mansson