Mini development rush in Sweden -- Projects for 420 MW on the go

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Sweden's wind market is firing up even though the country's new governing alliance, led by the Moderate and Centre parties, is yet to officially announce new measures to ensure its 10 TWh by 2015 wind target is met. But the pro-wind incoming energy minister, Maud Olofsson, has pledged up to SEK 30 million (EUR 3.3 million) both this year and next to help municipalities plan for more wind power. Combined with high electricity prices and the extension of the green certificates market through 2030, the pledge has been enough to see project plans totalling 420 MW of wind capacity confirmed, all scheduled to come online within two years, says the Swedish Windpower Association.

The problems of long permission lead times, dragging appeals processes, and an underdeveloped northern grid still remain, however. The industry is hoping policies to deal with these problems will also be announced this year.

Meantime, several projects, already with all their permits, are progressing. In northern Sweden, RES Scandinavien, an offshoot of the UK's RES Group, has progressed its 48 turbine Alavattnet wind farm, now rechristened Havsnäs, to the point where it is up for sale after an appeal to stop the project was overturned in Sweden's Environmental Court in November. Using either 2 MW or 3 MW turbines, RES hopes to secure a buyer by March and start construction in the summer, says the company's Magnus Mattson. Havsnäs lies south of RES' just finished Hornberget development of five Vestas 2 MW turbines in the province of Väserbotten. It was bought by local utility Jämtkraft in 2005.

Meanwhile, Nordanvind has already sold its 35 MW Bondö project, on a peninsula in the northern Baltic, to Denmark's Global Green Energy, which says it will break ground on the project this summer. The project will use 14 Nordex 2.5 MW turbines. Nearby, Svevind AB got tentative environmental approval last month for Gabrielsberget, a 40 turbine project in a hilly area overlooking the Baltic. Svevind's project manager, Mikael Kyrk, says he is optimistic the plant will get online in 2008.


Offshore, all permits are in for the ten turbine Gässlingegrundet wind farm in Vänern lake being developed by a consortium of local groups and private investors including Karlstad Energi AB. Foundation building will start this summer. Finland's WinWind will supply 3 MW turbines to at least half of the project -- the supply contract for the remaining turbines is to be put out to tender.

Two of the largest planned and permitted offshore projects, E.ON's Utgrunden II and Vestas Offshore Group's Klasården, off the island of Gotland, may not start on schedule, however. E.ON is yet to finance Utgrunden II, envisioned as a 90 MW plant, though a decision is expected at any moment. Vestas has still not moved forward on Klasården, which it bought from Sweden's Vindkompaniet AB in 2005. The company's Anders Søe-Jensen refuses to comment on the plant's status.

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