Swedish wind energy goes offshore
by T Wizelius, Vindform, Sweden

With one offshore wind power plant in operation, four under way and several more planned, offshore wind energy in Sweden is expected to increase from 2.75 MW today to almost 650 MW in 2005. However, non-technical barriers, legal actions and slow handling of applications for permission by the authorities have already started to delay projects.

The platform used for erecting the wind turbines at Bockstigen-Valar

The Starting point

If all plans for offshore wind energy are realised, in the coming two to three years the capacity in Sweden will increase to almost 150 MW. The Bockstigen-Valar wind farm, 4 km from the south coast of Gotland, is the starting point for this development. This project consists of five WindWorld turbines each with a capacity of

550 kW. The developer, Vindkompaniet, plans to install one offshore wind farm each year for the coming three years.

The first of these is a 9.9 MW wind farm to be built at Utgrunden, in the strait between the mainland and the island of …land, in south-east Sweden. This will consist of seven 1.4 MW turbines from Tacke. Another two wind farms, with similar capacity, will be built off Sweden's south coast. Also at the planning stage is a 35 MW project near the island of Gotland, which will be built using the Swedish Nordic 1000 wind turbine (this turbine is featured in CADDET Renewable Energy Technical Brochure No. 108).

Future plans

The largest offshore project in Sweden is Eurowind's 72 MW Orestad wind farm, which will be situated in the Oresund strait between Sweden and Denmark, close to the new bridge that connects Malmš and Copenhagen. This development will comprise forty-eight 1.5 MW turbines from Enercon. Due to start in 1999 and be completed in 2001, the project will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world. The initiative is being welcomed locally, as it will lead to new jobs at a former shipyard.

Eurowind also has ambitious plans for further development in the south of Sweden. Building on the experiences gained from the …restad project, it plans to develop a gigantic wind farm of about 1,000 MW, situated 3 km off the coast, which will produce about 3 TWh/year. In the initial phase, 1.5 MW Enercon turbines will be used, to be replaced later by 5 MW turbines that are now under development. The turbines will be installed in water up to 30 m deep.

In 1997, another Swedish company, Renewable Energy, announced plans to build 10 offshore wind farms along the southern coast of Sweden. The company has concentrated on three locations and has undertaken environmental impact assessments for each area. The wind farms, which will each have a capacity of 50 MW and be built 2-3 km off the coast, will all be in operation by 2002.

Vattenfall, the largest utility in Sweden, is also planning an offshore wind farm. At the end of the 1980s, a detailed plan was established for a project consisting of one hundred 3 MW turbines in Blekinge in southern Sweden. The plan was never realised for economic reasons. However, now that the preconditions for exploiting wind energy have improved, the Blekinge project is being re-evaluated.

The Bockstigen-Valar wind farm

The barriers

In Sweden there are several non-technical barriers that present a constant problem to all wind power projects. The Utgrunden scheme was due to be built in the summer of 1999. However, it has been delayed by a surprise decision by KammarrŠtten - an administrative court that represents the interests of the state - to appeal against the permission to build the wind farm given by the Water Court last December. The appeal will delay the project by at least a year. The …restad project has had similar problems. Although no appeal has been raised against it, the Environment Ministry has delayed its decision on the project.

Many other projects are currently on the drawing board, but not all have been publicly announced. As is the case with wind farms on land, permission has to be granted by several different authorities and finance has to be secured. How many of these projects will be developed is still uncertain, but in a reasonably optimistic scenario, Sweden could have up to 650 MW of offshore wind power by 2005, producing some 2-3 TWh/year of electricity.

Table 1: Offshore wind energy projects in Sweden

Name and place

Size (MW)

Developer

Timescale

Bockstigen-Valar, Gotland

3

Vindkompaniet

In operation

Orestad wind farm, Oresund

72

Eurowind

1999-2001

Utgrunden, Kalmarsund

10

Vindkompaniet

2000

Skabbrevet, Landskrona

50

Renewable Energy

2000

Blekinge

10

Vindkompaniet

2000

Ystad, Skane

10

Vindkompaniet

2001

Ystad, Skane

50

Renewable Energy

2002

Laholm, Halland

50

Renewable Energy

2002

South coast, Skane

1,000

Eurowind

2002

Blekinge

300

Vattenfall

Planning

Gotland

35

Vindkompaniet

Planning

For more infomation contact the CADDET Swedish National Team in Stockholm.

The CADDET Renewable Energy Newsletter is a quarterly magazine published by the CADDET Centre for Renewable Energy at ETSU, UK.

The articles published in the Newsletter reflect the opinions of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the official view of CADDET.

Enquiries concerning the Newsletter should be addressed to Pauline Toole, Editor, CADDET Centre for Renewable Energy, ETSU, Harwell, Oxfordshire OX11 0RA, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 1235 432968, Fax: +44 1235 433595.