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Sweden relies on offshore wind to produce 120 terawatts of electricity per year As part of its efforts to provide cheap electricity in the long term

  • 17 February, 2022
  • 5:10 pm EET

Forecasts indicate that the demand for electricity in Sweden will grow in the coming years; So the government is building a fleet of offshore wind farms to meet its needs.

In this context, the government is seeking to develop the offshore wind sector in Sweden to produce 120 TWh of electricity annually.

The government revealed areas in the Gulf of Bothnia, the Baltic Sea and the North Sea for the establishment of offshore farms capable of producing 20-30 TWh annually initially, and the Swedish Energy Agency, in cooperation with other agencies, will undertake the task of selecting new areas to enhance their production capacity, so that its fleet of offshore wind can produce 120 terawatts/year.

 

Offshore Wind Development Plan

The Swedish government said the Maritime Administration will propose changes to marine plans based on data from the Swedish Energy Agency.

The government believes this is an important step for the country to become at the forefront of climate change and create green jobs in the future.

Climate and Environment Minister Annika Strandhl said: “The industrial sector is calling for the development of offshore wind energy in Sweden, and we are working – currently – to accelerate its growth after identifying a number of suitable areas at sea. At the same time, the Swedish Energy Agency has received instructions to propose more areas.” .

She explained that the Swedish Energy Agency will cooperate with other agencies to identify suitable areas to produce 90 terawatt-hours of electricity from offshore wind energy, according to the “Offshore Wind” website.

The Swedish Energy Agency is due to reveal these additional offshore sites no later than March 2023, while the Maritime Administration will submit its proposal to the government by December 2024.

Sweden currently has 191 megawatts of operational capacity generated from offshore wind energy, according to wind energy tracker Windpower Intelligence.

 

Electricity Consumption

Sweden’s current electricity consumption is approximately 140 TWh per year, which means that the total electricity production from offshore wind of 120 TWh is roughly equivalent to the consumption of all of Sweden at present.

The Minister of Energy and Digitalization, Khchiar Farmanbar, stated that it is necessary to provide huge quantities of cheap electricity urgently, saying: “This way we will ensure the security of electricity supply and its availability at affordable prices in the long term.”

Sweden’s electricity consumption is expected to increase sharply in the coming years, as a result of electrification to the industrial and transport sectors and the phasing out of fossil fuels.

 

Taking Into Account Technical Development

Sweden’s plans also call for a study of how municipalities can benefit from marine farms.

In addition to granting powers on these farms to the Swedish electricity grid and the armed forces, especially since developers previously abandoned their plans to develop offshore wind farms due to objections from the military.

Lena Kenning, head of offshore wind energy at Svenske Windenergy, welcomed the plan’s release, but expected it to be more ambitious.

“Combating climate change means our electricity needs are growing rapidly, and the proposed marine plans do not provide enough space to produce the electricity needed to achieve this,” she said.

She added that it is important to take into account the technical development of wind energy when reviewing offshore plans, noting that government plans assumed building offshore wind energy to a depth of 40 meters, but today it is possible to build stationary wind turbines with a depth of 60 to 70 meters.

In addition, the floating wind turbine market has emerged globally, so depth is no longer an issue.

 

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