Sweden confident of achieving 100 per cent renewables target

Authorities in Sweden believe powering the country 100 per cent through renewable energy is a realistic ambition by 2040.

A top regulatory official, Anne Vadasz Nilsson, Director General of the Swedish Energy Markets Inspectorate, told Reuters, “We are not densely populated, we have a lot of good places to put land-based large-scale wind and there is large potential for that in Sweden.”

Renewables such as hydro and wind last year accounted for 57 per cent of the Nordic nation’s 159 terawatt-hours (TWh) of power production, with most of the rest coming from nuclear.
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Swedish output of wind power has gradually increased as it becomes more cost-efficient, and it now makes up 10 percent of the country’s overall energy production, from almost zero several years ago, she said.

The government wants to add more renewables to the grid and does not plan to subsidise more nuclear energy and it is unlikely that any new atomic reactors will be built given low power prices, said Vadasz Nilsson.

“Nuclear is quite an expensive energy source due to safety regulations and funding for long-term nuclear waste management among other things,” she said.

“Renewables, meaning large-scale wind in Sweden, on the other hand, are cheaper and cheaper to commission and to run. This together with low wholesale prices will make it less likely that new nuclear power plants will replace the remaining ones when they are phased out due to old age.”

Happily for the Nordic nation, the country’s natural hydro resources and interconnection capabilities provides a high degree of energy security.

“Our simulations show that due to the base load from our hydropower plants and the high degree of interconnection with neighbouring countries, the hours with very high prices, indicating scarcity of capacity, will be quite few,” Vadasz Nilsson said.

“This together with a more developed market for demand-side response will safeguard capacity even on cold winter days when the wind is not blowing.”

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