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Market Status: Sweden - Grid upgrade needed to repeat record year

SWEDEN Around 600MW of new wind capacity is expected to be installed in 2015, predicts Sweden's wind energy association. This is considerably less than the 965MW added last year.

The expected decline in 2015 is mainly due to the historically low prices of electricity and renewable electricity certificates. Developers are putting off investments until the Swedish parliament has completed the evaluation of the electricity certificate system and taken steps "to restore the system to balance", says the association.

One problem is that wind-power expansion is largely confined to northern Sweden, but the main demand is in the south. "Unless the transmission capacity from north to south is enhanced in the near term, this will restrict how much wind power can be built," the association states.

Sweden's wind fleet stood at 5.42GW at the end of 2014. Forecasts indicate an expansion of about 1,000 new turbines over the next four years, according to Mattias Wondollek, an analyst at the Swedish wind energy association. This could mean around 3GW being added by the end of 2018, an average of 750MW a year.

Major onshore projects coming up include three under development by state-owned utility Vattenfall, totalling 105MW. The 38MW Hoge Vag, 29MW Juktan and 38MW Hogabjar-Karsas projects are all due online this year, the first using Gamesa turbines, the other two powered by Siemens. Nordisk Vindkraft, a subsidiary of the RES Group, plans to commission the 144MW Sidensjo project, co-owned by Germany's Stadtwerke Munchen, later in 2015.

Offshore, Sweden had five projects with a total of 86 turbines and 201MW in operation at the end of last year. However, eight offshore projects for up to 2.38GW are permitted, and permit applications have been filed for a further five projects totalling 6.46GW, according to the Swedish state energy authority.

In 2014, Swedish wind generation of 11.5TWh accounted for 8% of total electricity generation of 151TWh in 2014. Wind is still a relatively minor player in Sweden's electricity system compared with hydro generation at 64TWh and nuclear at 62TWh in 2014, but is catching up with fossil-fuel generation, which amounted to 13TWh in 2014.

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