Sweden

Sweden

National and local targets outlined, NUTEC strategy published

Sweden's energy authority, NUTEK, has prepared a detailed wind energy strategy, declaring wind a national priority for development and detailing precise megawatt targets for all windy regions of the country. The NUTEK plan is far from being adopted by government but is expected to play an important role in the forthcoming parliamentary discussions on Sweden's energy policy.

A detailed wind energy strategy -- declaring wind a national priority for development -- has been prepared by Sweden's energy authority, NUTEK. The strategy includes precise megawatt targets for all windy regions of the country -- even the city of Stockholm is being told to ensure installation of 2% of the wind capacity needed to provide the overall target of 1 TWh of electricity a year. This would require installation of some 400 MW of wind power, or 600-800 wind turbines with rated capacities of 400-600 kW.

NUTEK's initiative, which includes a secondary target of a further 1 TWh of wind power per annum, is welcomed by both the Swedish wind power community and the many regional governments. For some time they have argued for guidelines and a national strategy to clear the way for wind development. Without a clear statement of government intention, gaining planning permission and building permits has been a bumpy process for would-be wind developers, they say.

Although the NUTEK plan is far from being adopted by government -- and falls short of the 5 TWh by 2005 called for by the wind lobby -- it is expected to play an important role in the forthcoming parliamentary discussions on Sweden's energy policy. The country has yet to decide a working timetable for replacing all its nuclear power plant -- a declared national goal for the past decade.

No escape

Under Nutek's wind plan, all regions with winds strong enough to produce 4 MWh per square metre of rotor swept area, at a height of 100 metres, are to develop their wind resource. The only exceptions will be nature reserves. Skåne in the south of Sweden is to provide 40% of Sweden's wind output, by far the largest quota, with the main island of Gotland to meet 15%. The remaining 45% is spread throughout the country. Stockholm's 2%, to produce some 20 GWh a year, would require the installation of some 20, 500 kW turbines, with another 20 machines to meet the second development phase.

As well as the lack of a timetable for the strategy, the main stumbling block is perceived to be the requirement that the rate of development of new wind plant be controlled by demand for new capacity. The emergence onto the scene of Nutek's plan is also likely to slow wind development in the short term. Current subsidy funds have run dry and until a new plan is adopted the wind market could be left hanging in a vacuum.

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