Sweden

Sweden

Volvo Trucks to run on wind -- Plan for 10 MW

Swedish company Volvo Trucks, based in Gothenburg, has entered into a long term agreement with local utility Göteborg Energi to meet electricity needs at its Tuve plant with wind power -- and get heating from a biofuel boiler.

Göteborg Energi will invest SEK 115 million SEK (EUR 12.3 million) in five 2 MW turbines to be installed on the coastal island of Risholmen next to the Tuve truck factory. Three of the turbines are to be situated on land owned by Gothenburg Harbour, with the two others placed slightly offshore on Volvo-owned real estate. The biofuel boiler, also to be located close to the factory, will cost an additional SEK 10-15 million (EUR 1-1.5 million).

The project will be online in 2007, both partners say, and will generate around 30 GWh of electricity and 20 GWh of heat annually, which by Volvo's calculation displaces 600,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide the plant would otherwise emit. A bid for the turbines has yet to be issued.

"Volvo wants a CO2-free plant. We've agreed to supply that, with locally-produced electricity from wind and CO2-free heat," says Göteborg Energi's Per Carlson, adding: "While the output represents less than one per cent of Göteborg's energy use, if a flagship company says we can do sustainable energy, this is a perfect way to demonstrate it to others."

The two harbour-based turbines will be Göteborg Energi's first attempt to build offshore since a planned 60-turbine wind station further north on the Swedish coast near Varberg failed to receive government approval and was scuttled last year.

Opposition

The Tuve project, which builds onto a 12-turbine wind plant of 600 kW Vestas turbines already in the area and partially owned by Göteborg Energi, could help dissipate opposition to local wind projects of inspired by "not in my back yard" sentiments in nature-conscious Sweden, Carlson believes. The turbines already co-exist peacefully with a Natura 2000 bird preserve that also abuts Volvo's factory, he says. When the five new turbines are placed, the utility plans to move one of the oldest existing turbines to a northern Göteborg neighbourhood with good wind.

For its part, Volvo says rising energy prices will make the deal a sound business decision. Part of the agreement entails Göteborg Energi's commitment to help Tuve reduce its overall energy consumption by at least 20%. Plans are already in the works, says Volvo's Mårten Wikforss, to replicate the CO2-free energy project at other Volvo factories, with the Gent, Belgium facility one of the first to express interest in the concept.

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