Market Status: Sweden - Growth despite military and local opposition

SWEDEN: The Swedish wind sector expects the global financial crisis to leave its mark in 2011 in the form of a dip in capacity additions.

Other causes for pessimism are ongoing resistance from the Swedish Armed Forces, concerned that turbines may put flight safety at risk, and empowerment of local municipalities opposed to wind.

Steady additions of wind capacity last year fan hopes for new transmission wires to carry the power. But Gunnar Fredriksson, deputy chief executive officer of the Swedish Wind Energy Association, says: "We still face some challenges to make this happen - most notably the economic situation, the permission and approval process and our grid system."

Last year, the Swedish wind energy industry added about 550MW of new capacity, bringing total installed capacity to 2.1GW. Most notable was the launch of Nordisk Vindkraft and HgCapital's 95.4MW Havsnas wind farm, predicted to generate some 250GWh.

Vattenfall's Stor Rotliden project and the erection of a further 12 turbines at the massive Markbygden project - which aims to be Europe's largest wind farm with 1,101 turbines by 2021 - added another 104MW. Wind now generates around 3.5TWh a year. "2010's figures were above our expectations," says Fredriksson.

But, in recent years, the Swedish Air Force has argued that the growing number of turbines interferes with their job. "They are complaining now about turbines which have already been given permits and have been standing for years. They have also taken back positive statements about specific wind turbine locations that they already approved," complains Fredriksson.

A late 2010 survey by his organisation shows that, out of 1,000 turbines, one-third were affected by opposition from the air force and municipalities. The Swedish government is studying how conflicts between the wind sector and military agencies are handled elsewhere.

A law introduced in 2009 gave Swedish municipalities power to veto the construction of new wind farms - something they have been keen to wield.

"Due to a well-organised and high-pitched anti-wind power lobby, a large number of municipalities have exercised this right, even in areas which they previously thought would suit wind power," says Fredriksson.

In early 2010, Sweden updated its green electricity certificates programme requiring local power consumers to purchase certificates to demonstrate that a certain percentage of their electricity comes from renewable sources. Expected volume of electricity from renewables is 17TWh in 2016 and 25TWh in 2020.

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