Series of offshore projects planned

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One offshore installation on line, three on the way, and several large projects in preliminary planning. Sweden's offshore wind power capacity could boom to around 650 MW by 2005, from today's 2.75 MW. Even if only the most advanced projects are realised, Sweden is likely to have some 150 MW of offshore wind plant turning within the next two years.

The first wind farm to emerge from Sweden's long and complicated permitting process has been Vindkompaniet's 3 MW R&D project at Bockstigen-Valar, four kilometres from Näsudden, Gotland. The five Wind World 550 kW turbines, mounted on monopiles, have been on line since early spring, and Vindkompaniet reports the machines are working well. The developer has three more offshore projects in the works, each of them at just under 10 MW. It hopes to install one a year until 2001. Applications for all wind projects larger than 10 MW must go all the way to national government, so Vindkompaniet has deliberately proposed 9.9 MW plant to avoid delays. Permission needs to be granted only from a regional authority, Lansstyrelsen, and the national water board, the final hurdle for all projects.

One of the offshore trio is well on its way. At Utgrunden, a shallow area in the Kalmar Straight between the island of Öland and the mainland, the plans is for seven 1.4 MW turbines. The water board's verdict is expected this month, while Lansstyrelsen is still investigating environmental impact. If permission is granted, building will start in May and the plant will be on line by next autumn, according to Staffan Niklasson from Vindkompaniet.

Farther south, some five kilometres from the coast of Blekinge, another 10 MW station is slated for construction. This area has already been designated for wind development, so approval is not expected to be difficult. The third project is for a site two kilometres from Ystad off the south coast of Skåne. Although the application is ready, Lansstyrelsen has been critical of the relatively close proximity to the coast. Vindkompaniet also has plans in preliminary stages for a 35 MW offshore R&D project near Gotland, using the Swedish built Nordic 1 MW turbine.

Good press

Sweden's largest offshore proposal so far is for a 72 MW project at Lillegrund in Öresund, the strait between Denmark and Sweden (Windpower Monthly, December 1997). Swedish developer Eurowind, which has links to German wind turbine maker Enercon, has increased the size of the project by a third in the last year to use up to 48 of Enercon's 1.5 MW units. The plant is expected to produce some 260 GWh a year, equal to 15% of the electric consumption in Malmö, the third largest city in Sweden. Environment minister Anna Lindh visited the site this summer with local politicians, EU representatives and others. With strong support at all levels, government consent is expected, says Eurowind's Magnus Rosenback. The project has been financed and if it is approved construction will begin in the summer. Completion is expected by 2001.

With high hopes, Eurowind also has plans for a huge offshore project of nearly 1000 MW at a site with a maximum depth of 30 metres, some ten kilometres from the south coast of Skåne. If realised, the plant will produce about 3 TWh of electricity a year.

More tentative plans for 500, 1.5 MW turbines were announced last year by a group in Malmo calling itself Renewable Energy AB (Windpower Monthly, October 1997). The company has so far concentrated on three of ten identified sites off the south and west coast and prepared environment impact assessments for them. All three will be located two to three kilometers off the coast, each with a capacity of 50 MW. The project nearest to development is planned for Skabbrevet, an area of shallow water off Landskrona, not from the man-made island of Gipson and its 12, 600 kW Vestas turbines. The regional planning authority has no objections and the project may be on line by 2000, says Renewable Energy's Jerry Schon. The two other projects are planned for Ystad in 2001 and Laholm in 2002. In addition, Renewable Energy AB is due to install four 1.5 MW turbines next year in the harbour of Ystad, if all goes well. Schon says the Kocum shipyard in Malmo is developing a new kind of steel foundation for offshore wind plant.

Utility action too

Several other parties have planned their own offshore efforts for Sweden too. The Skutskar municipality is discussing the feasibility of rebuilding its harbour to accommodate several hundred megawatt of offshore plant.

Meantime, state owned utility Vattenfall has also showed signs of wetting its feet. In the late 1980s it had worked out detailed plans for an offshore 300 MW wind farm using 3 MW machines off Blekinge on the southern end of the east coast. The plan was shelved when it was considered too expensive. Now the dust has been brushed off and discussions have begun with Lansstyrelsen in Blekinge to make it happen.

The situation has changed during the last ten years, says Vattenfall, and the economic prospects for offshore wind power look much better with commercial and competitive multi-megawatt turbines on the market. The project will undoubtedly get strong local support, just like in the eighties, since unemployment in the region is among the highest in Sweden.

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