Braked expansion of wind power – despite great interest

Decisions to invest in new wind farms continue to decline, new statistics show. It is not a lack of interest, but difficult to obtain a permit, according to the industry.

High electricity prices and a sharp increase in demand over the next 10–20 years should make all wind power builders put the shovel in the ground. With current prices, it is not very difficult to calculate a wind farm.

But it is becoming increasingly difficult to get a permit, according to Daniel Badman, CEO of Swedish Wind Energy. An earlier survey from the wind industry showed that eight out of ten wind turbines were stopped as a result of the municipal veto.

Not either or

And Sweden cannot afford to quarrel, it is not about either wind or nuclear power, as politicians tend to do. Both are needed:

“Swedish industry has the chance to become a world leader in climate change, but if the electricity demand is to be met, no type of power can be chosen away. Wind power can be expanded the most and at the lowest prices in the near future. It plays a crucial role in industry electrification”, writes Öy in a comment to TT.

Now the bill to screw up the municipal veto is expected to take a break because a political majority has said they want to vote no to the current proposal. The opposition wants it to first be investigated how the municipalities can be compensated to welcome the gusts of wind. Coupled with the fact that it is also an election year, the municipal permit issues are likely to go into a standstill, the wind industry fears.

Braked development

Swedish Wind Energy’s quarterly statistics show that four investment decisions were made on new wind farms during the first quarter, corresponding to approximately SEK 3.5 billion or 1 TWh of electricity production. This can be compared with the average of 1.5 TWh in the first quarter of the last five years. The slower trend started already last year.

– There is a risk of slowing down the expansion of wind power, says Daniel Badman.

Three of the new wind farms are located in southern Sweden, where the interest in building is also greatest, which is related to higher electricity prices in the southern part of the country. But it is also where it is most difficult to get a permit. The fact that it is awaited in northern Sweden may be related to Finland expanding its electricity production fully, both with nuclear power and wind power, according to Daniel Badman.

Admittedly, it is being fully built right now, based on old decisions, about eight TWh is expected to be added for operation this year. But there are long lead times, so the filling rate is too low to meet the ambition that the whole of Elsverige talks about and seems to pretty much agree on – to double electricity production over the next 20 years, regardless of whether it is nuclear power, wind power or something else.

Halving next year

If the trend continues, it looks like it will be a halving of new investment decisions in new wind turbines in 2023 compared with 2022, according to Swedish Wind Energy.

“To get new electricity production on site, the permit times must be at least halved. But that is not enough, in addition to wind power, we also need planable power. Therefore, the policy must also change the legislation so it becomes possible to invest in fossil-free technology, such as SMR”, writes Marie Knutsen -Oh.

Facts: So much electricity will be produced in Sweden in 2021

Hydropower: 70.6 TWh, marginally less than in 2020.

Nuclear power: 51 TWh, an increase of about eight percent compared with the previous year.

Wind power: 27.4 TWh, marginally less than in 2020.

Conventional thermal power: 15.5 TWh, an increase of about 20 percent.

Solar power: 1.1 TWh, an increase of 40 percent compared to 2020.

Source: Swedish Energy Agency

Source: Nyteknik – Senaste nytt by

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