Wind Power – Norrbotten’s New Industrial Base
Norrland is the centre of Swedish wind power generation. 6 000 new generators are planned over the next 15-20 years. If all these planned generators are installed, it would mean that Norrland will have three times more generators than the whole of Sweden has today.
“A new industrial base is evolving,” says Jens Sperens, project manager for Vindfyr which is gathering and disseminating the experience gained from the expansion in Norrland.
We are talking about several hundred wind farms being built in the forests and mountains of Gävleborg, Västernorrland, Västerbotten, Norrbotten and Jämtland. 1 700 turbines are planned in Jämtland alone. Gävleborg and Norrbotten have 1 400 generators marked on the map.
“Just how many turbines will actually be installed depends on access to the power grid, planning permission and political support,” says Jens Sperens.
“However, we are clearly on the cusp of a unique phase of rapid expansion of a newly established branch of industry that may come to represent a new Swedish export commodity – electricity.”
The construction of about a dozen wind farms is already in progress in Norrland. These include e.g. Skanska’s and O2’s investment in Sjiska in Norrbotten, (30 wind power turbines with an aggregated power output of up to 90 MW), Svevind’s project in Granberget in Västernorrland, (6 turbines with a total power output of 12 MWE), and the first phase of the joint wind power investment by Statkraft, the Norwegian power company, and the forestry company SCA in Västernorrland and Jämtland.
Statkraft and SCA wanted to build a total of 490 wind turbines but were only given permission for 350. On their joint web site, Vindkraftnorr.se, the expansion is presented as “one of the largest industrial investments in Sweden”.
“But this is just small potatoes compared with Markbygden just outside Piteå, where about 1 100 wind turbines are planned – an investment of nearly 70 billion SEK. The days of putting a few turbines on a hill are over – it is now all about large wind farms and massive investment,” says Jens Sperens.
Vindfyr is hoping for more than just cheap electricity.
“We hope that it will also promote growth in training, research and development and employment up here in the North,” he adds.
Vindfyr is a project that includes representatives from 54 municipalities and 5 counties and is being funded by the Swedish Energy Agency.
“The steering group has close ties with local communities, providing the local knowledge and insight needed for sustainable expansion of wind power generation,” concludes Jens Sperens.