Wind energy from a European perspective

In 2008, wind power really took off in respect of installed capacity, and grew more than any other type of energy. Matthias Rapp, President of Swedish Wind Energy, says that if Sweden is to keep up with the pace set by the rest of Europe, we must now build at least 500 MW of new wind power capacity each year.

By 2020, the EU-27 will have constructed 250,000 MW, with 20 percent of this offshore. Last year, Europe installed 8,500 MW of new wind power capacity. This is the first time that wind power has overtaken natural gas, which expanded by just 7,000 MW.

"Wind power in Europe has been well-established for many years, as we all know. We see Sweden as one of the crucial growth markets, and we regard a substantial expansion in Sweden as essential if Europe is to achieve its common goals", says Dorina Iuga.

In the past few days, Svenska Kraftnät has decided to prioritise the construction of a cable from Gotland to the mainland, an investment of SEK 2-3 billion. This will underpin the expansion of wind power on Gotland, and create hundreds of new jobs.

"The cable to Gotland means that many of the best projects will be achievable, which will really benefit both the people of Gotland and the whole of Sweden", concludes Matthias Rapp, President of Swedish Wind Energy.

The government’s target is to increase the production of renewable energy in Sweden by 10 TWh by 2010. In our judgment, the present system of financial support though electricity certificates, which is intended to generate 17 TWh by 2016, allows for approximately 7 TWh of wind power.

Swedish wind power has undeniable wind in its sails as new stations are being set up in a faster pace than ever before – despite tumbling electricity prices and global economic crisis.

During 2009 some 8 billion kronor (€770 million, $1.1 billion) were invested in 200 wind power stations with a combined capacity of circa 500 megawatts. The investments are more than twice as large as during the previous year and the expansion considerably faster than in many other countries.

“It’s very positive and a sign of strength for the entire industry that continues to attract very large investments and grow rapidly in the worst downturn in modern times”, said Mattias Rapp, chief executive officer at Swedish Wind Energy, a trade organisation that looks after the financial interests of its members.

Behind the new investments are a wide range of organisations, from large companies listed on the stock exchange to independents farmers.

During December’s climate summit in Copenhagen Sweden was among those nine European countries signing a deal to develop a massive offshore wind power grid in the North Sea and Irish Sea. The countries involved aim to devise a work plan in early 2010 to coordinate offshore infrastructure development.