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Sweden

ACCOCIATION TARGET GAINS SUPPORT; Energy politics

The Swedish wind power association (SVIF) has set a target for wind development of 250 MW a year for the annual generation of 5 TWh of electricity by 2005. The target is in stark contrast to the 0.2 TWh that a parliamentary energy commission said would come from wind by that date.

The commission, which made its report five months ago, was set up to plan for the phasing out of nuclear power in Sweden. Its prediction, however, has never been taken seriously by the wind industry. Wind plant in Sweden will be producing 0.2 TWh by the end of this year once projects now waiting in line for investment subsides have been built.

SVIF presented its development scenario at a weekend energy conference in Lundsbrunn in late March. Once the 2005 target is reached, SVIF suggests the next aim should be for wind to supply 10% of power by 2010, the same goal as neighbouring Denmark has set for 2005. Last year Sweden installed just 30 MW, but SVIF points out that Denmark installed almost 100 MW and Germany 500 MW in the same period, so an expansion twice as fast as Denmark's, but only half of that in Germany, is pefectly feasible in Sweden as long as existing economic conditions remain.

This is uncertain, though. Money set aside for wind subsidies has once again dried up. Last autumn the government coughed up an extra SEK 100 million when the SEK 250 million budget ran dry. SVIF is now working hard to persuade government to do the same again. A new energy strategy for Sweden was due in the autumn, but is still awaited. As a result, new funds for wind are also delayed and might not even appear until next January.

The political will towards wind power in Sweden appears strong, though. In one of his first public speeches the new Social Democratic prime minister, Göran Persson, has stressed his government's intention to move the entire power system in Sweden to renewable energy. And at the seminar, in a videotaped message, environment minister Anna Lind promised to give strong support to further development. Also at the seminar, a cross-party panel of politicians agreed that SVIF's target for wind was reasonable, only disagreeing on methods of reaching it. The centre and left of centre parties, including the greens, were keen to legislate for an official goal, while the parties on the right, as well as the liberals, the Christian democrats and the moderates, argued that development should be left to market forces.

An idea mooted earlier for a fund for renewable energy, financed from a levy on nucelar electricity, has gained wide support in parliament. The aim is for it to pay for a 25% subsidy of the cost of renewable energy installations until nuclear power has been phased out. With an environment bonus of SEK 0.10/kWh and fast growing demand for green electricity that will lead to a premium price being paid for wind, economic incentives would be sufficient to stimulate rapid development.

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