On 23 October WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson participated in the panel “Ten years of wind power – reviewing the past and looking into the future” at Vind 2019, the Swedish Wind Energy Association’s annual event.
Here is the current state of play in Sweden: the country has made tremendous leaps forward in wind energy in recent years. From under 4 GW in wind energy capacity in 2012, the country has already reached almost 8 GW today. Wind currently makes up 14% of Sweden’s power demand, and an additional 4.2 GW is already under construction.
Looking to the future, Sweden has a national target of 100% renewable electricity generation by 2040. To reach this, wind power would need to increase to an annual output of at least 90 TWh. This would require over €18.4 billion of further investments in wind power.
Sweden needs to implement concrete changes if it wishes to make these ambitions a reality, Dickson said. The most crucial of these would be implementing a stop mechanism for its SE Green Certificates Scheme in 2021. Sweden currently shares this system with Norway – but while Norway plans to end the scheme in 2021, Sweden wants to maintain it till 2030. Dickson encouraged Swedish policymakers to align with Norway in 2021, as this will retain investor confidence.
There are other steps that Sweden can take to unlock investment opportunities. Streamlining planning & permitting will decrease transaction costs, ensure better territorial distribution of wind farms & help improve public acceptance. Sweden also needs to invest in its grid and interconnections, and confirm arrangements for its offshore grid as soon as possible. 98% of Sweden’s current wind energy capacity is onshore, with only 190 MW of the country’s wins is offshore. So tapping into the country’s offshore resource is a no-brainer for reaching Sweden’s goal of net zero emissions by 2045.
Wind power can account for over half of the electricity consumption in Sweden, Dickson said. But realising this potential means getting the right policies in place.