Don't forget hydropower, Ebba!

Skellefteå Kraft is owned by a municipality, which has been governed by the Social Democrats since the 1940s. The company's board of directors consists of municipal politicians.

Single-minded. Energy minister Ebba Busch wants to increase electricity production in Sweden but is too focused on nuclear power.

Single-minded. Energy minister Ebba Busch wants to increase electricity production in Sweden but is too focused on nuclear power.

Foto: Pär Bäckström/ Frilans

Ledarkrönika2024-04-10 11:45

This means that the company could be vulnerable to partisan considerations when it comes to taking a stand on societal issues related to electricity or energy.

Just recently, Skellefteå Kraft made such a statement. The government had presented its proposal for the long-term direction of energy policy, and the company decided to issue a rather critical press release stating that it was difficult not to be disappointed with the government's policy. What was that all about? 

The government's long-term plan involves a major expansion of all types of power generation in Sweden. Skellefteå Kraft, which has invested in hydro, wind and nuclear power, should surely see itself as a winner in such a policy?

In an interview with Norran, Skellefteå Kraft's CEO Joachim Nordin says:
– The problem is that the government is too focused on nuclear power. It takes too long to grow capacity.
– Government policy is important for our business, but too much is uncertain and unclear. We want to know the conditions for expanding and increasing the capacity of hydropower. This is where we can contribute a lot in a relatively short period of time, Nordin continues.

The government has outlined an energy policy in which Sweden will almost double its electricity production by 2045. The growing demand for electricity is due to the transition from petrol and diesel cars, a similar transition in industry, and the establishment of power-intensive industries in Sweden, such as Northvolt's battery factory in Skellefteå.

The government prioritizes nuclear power while acknowledging the need for solar, wind, and hydroelectric sources to achieve this goal.

The government, aiming to significantly increase electricity production by 2045, believes the equivalent of ten new nuclear reactors may be needed. Their focus on nuclear power stems from its reliable and high energy output.

– It's mainly intermittent (weather-dependent) wind power that hasn't been required to deliver the characteristics that the electricity system needs, says energy minister Ebba Busch (Kd).

– So it's not enough just to build a lot of new power plants and infrastructure, she continues.

Skellefteå Kraft believes that statements like these from the energy minister sow uncertainty in the industry. The industry is left wondering if large, expensive investments in non-nuclear options are still viable, and whether subsidies for new nuclear power plants will disadvantage other forms of power generation.

– What we want is a technology-neutral energy policy, says Nordin, CEO of Skellefteå Kraft.

Skellefteå Kraft raises valid points in its critique of the government's energy policy. The government's push for rapid electrification is commendable, but their unclear and critical stance towards wind power development, coupled with minimal mention of hydropower, raises concerns. This lack of focus on hydropower overlooks a significant source of predictable power generation. 

Skellefteå Kraft's ongoing modernization of Rengård alone is expected to double the plant's output, demonstrating the potential for existing infrastructure.

Companies with a social responsibility, such as Skellefteå Kraft, play a crucial role in shaping energy policy. Objectivity, not partisan interests, should guide energy policy decisions.

So we urge the government to adopt a clear and technology-neutral approach to ensure a sustainable energy future for Sweden.