Wind Energy in Sweden

sweden.jpgIn 2016, Sweden’s new wind energy installations had a capacity of 605 MW (604 MW were installed in 2015). At the end of 2016, the total installed capacity was 6,422 MW from 3,335 wind turbines.

Sweden has a goal within the EU burden-sharing agreement of at least a 50% share of renewable energy in the total energy use by 2020. New ambitious targets were announced in 2016 for 100% renewable electricity production in 2040. The Swedish Energy Agency estimates that about 2.5 to 6 TWh of new renewable power capcity will need to be installed annually between 2030 and 2040 to reach that goal and, wind power could provide a large part of this capacity.

As the main wind power R,D&D funding agency in Sweden, the Swedish Energy Agency finances research conducted by universities and industries in several research programs. The overarching goals of R,D&D in wind power is to help Sweden reach targets and national objectives for a renewable energy system, to contribute to business development, and to increase jobs and exports.

National Objectives

According to the EU burden-sharing agreement, Sweden is required to achieve a renewable energy share of 49% by 2020. However, Sweden has increased this goal to a renewable energy share of at least 50% of the total energy use.

In 2016, the government, the Moderate Party, the Centre Party, and the Christian Democrats reached an agreement on Sweden’s long-term energy policy. This agreement consists of a common roadmap for a controlled transition to an entirely renewable electricity system, with target as follows:

  • By 2040, Sweden should achieve 100% renewable electricity production. This target is not a deadline for banning nuclear power, nor does it mean closing nuclear power plants through political decisions.
  • By 2045, Sweden is to have no net emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and should thereafter achieve negative emissions.
  • By 2030 an energy-efficiency target of 50% more efficient energy use compared with 2005. The target is expressed in terms of energy relatively to GDP.

Renewable Energy Targets

Sweden has a technology-neutral market-based support system for renewable electricity production called the electricity certificate. Sweden and Norway have shared a common electricity certificates market since 2012, wherein certificates may be traded between borders.

The objective of the common certificates market is to increase the production of renewable electricity by 26.4 TWh by 2020, compared to 2012. This corresponds to approximately 10% of total electricity production in both countries—achieved principally through bio-power and wind power. In the Swedish energy policy agreement signed in 2016, the electricity certificate support scheme was extended to 2030 with an added ambition of 18 TWh.

Policies Supporting Development

The main incentive for renewables is the electricity certificate scheme, a market-based support system for renewable electricity production. The system came into force in 2003 with the intention to increase the production of renewable electricity and to decrease the cost of production. The work done in assessing areas of national interest for wind power can also be considered a “soft incentive.”

In the electricity certificate scheme, the government awards electricity producers a certificate for each MWh produced from renewable resources. Only new power plants or plants which have undergone recent significant changes are entitled to certificates. Producers can then sell the certificates on an open market to electricity consumers. The demand for electricity certificates is regulated by means of a quota which is set in proportion to total electricity use. The energy-intensive industry is however exempt from this requirement.

The price is determined freely on the market and varies with demand and supply. Renewable energy sources include wind, solar, wave, and geothermal, as well as some hydropower, biofuels, and peat in combined heat and power (CHP) plants. The main contributors are bio-power and wind power.