Vattenfall in partnership deal to build turbines on forest land

Last year, Vattenfall threatened (or promised, depending on your viewpoint) to build about half of the capacity needed to fulfil Sweden's pledge to get 17 TWh of electricity from wind energy by 2016. Now the company is starting to reveal details of exactly how it will go about reaching that aim. It has announced a partnership with Sveaskog, Sweden's largest forest owner, to spend about SEK 20 billion (EUR 2.1 billion) building 550 turbines, or 1.5 GW of capacity, at a variety of locations on Sveaskog land by 2016. So far, these prospective sites are in five counties in Sweden's highly populated southeast region. According to Vattenfall, which currently owns around 100 turbines in the country, including 45 at the Lillgrund offshore site, the investment should yield about 4 TWh of electricity -- four times Sweden's currently wind power production. Sveaskog has already ventured into the wind business, having signed land lease contracts with 20 wind developers for 33 different sites; another 100 developers are in the queue. Sveaskog says it owns nearly 2000 plots that could be of interest for wind development. Just 15 turbines are located on Sveaskog land so far, but the interest of Vattenfall and others represents a total of 1000 turbines spread around 4.5 million hectares of forest. "In the last two months, we've really seen an explosion in interest by developers," says Sveaskog's Linda Andersson. "It's for a variety of reasons, but I think there's interest to build in the forest because you don't come as close to communities...a lot of developers are also looking in areas where as the forest owners we already have built up a good infrastructure." Vattenfall's Anders Dahl has said the company is also looking into building wind in less-populated northern municipalities, but that net connection charges are considerably lower when building in the south, where wind speeds are higher.

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