Den nya industrialiseringenNorra Sverige

10 questions and answers about wind power

Wind power evokes strong emotions. Pictured, wind turbines near Koler in the Markbygden wind power park.
Wind power evokes strong emotions. Pictured, wind turbines near Koler in the Markbygden wind power park.

The expansion of Swedish wind power remains controversial. We posed questions to three independent experts regarding the pros and cons of wind power.

Norra Sverige 1 augusti 2023 16:35
undefined
Erik Ek, strategic operations manager at Svenska Kraftnät.

Erik Ek, strategic operations manager at Svenska Kraftnät:

Is wind power really efficient when you only get about 30 percent of the installed capacity?

– Power is about how much you can produce at a given moment. It depends on the size of the machine. When the wind is at its strongest, you get the full power. When there is no wind, you get none. Usually, you get something in between. It's like comparing it to a car where the car has, on average for the year, used one-third of the engine's maximum power.

Is it true that wind power companies reduce production when there is a lot of wind to drive up prices and, thereby, their own profit?

–That's not true. Wind power is always running because the fuel cost is zero. As soon as the companies can make a profit, they run at full capacity. Instead, such incentives might exist for other types of power generation where you can actually save on fuel and use it later, for example, hydropower.

Why is it reasonable to build wind power in northern Sweden when such a large proportion of energy is lost during transmission southwards?

– The only transmission problem that will arise in the future is that the electricity will go north instead of south. When consumption increases in the north, those who live there will get the same prices as in southern Sweden.

undefined
David Kihlberg, climate manager at Naturskyddsföreningen (The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation).

David Kihlberg, head of climate change at Naturskyddsföreningen (The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation):

Is wind power environmentally friendly?

– There are no energy sources that are good for the environment. However, wind power has significantly less negative impact than other forms of energy if it is developed in a good way and takes the environment into account.

How much wind power can be built without destroying nature too much?

– We have carefully analysed how large we consider the potential in Sweden, given the strict guidelines we set. We conclude that around 130 terawatt hours could be built in Sweden sustainably.

Can we reorganise our electricity production while taking full account of the environment?

– The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation believes that we need to use less energy and change our lifestyle, because we will not be able to meet the level of consumption we have today sustainably without negative consequences for both the environment and people.

How do you view the use of vetoes by the armed forces to stop many wind farms?

– The vetoes of the armed forces are even more problematic than those of the municipalities because they prevent a lot of wind power in a much more unpredictable way. The defence forces need to be much more constructive.

undefined
Kenneth Fors, environmental protection officer at Länsstyrelsen Norrbotten (County Administrative Board of Norrbotten).

Kenneth Fors, environmental protection officer at Länsstyrelsen Norrbotten:

What happens to the concrete foundations when a park is decommissioned?

– The current consensus in environmental assessments is that you remove the top layer and then cover it with soil.

Who is responsible for restoring nature if the wind energy company goes bankrupt?

– They have to provide a financial guarantee for each wind turbine. This is around 1.3 million euros that you have to put up in case the operators themselves do not have the financial means to restore nature. There are a number of different solutions for securing this.

Could the state and taxpayers have to step in and clean up when the parks are phased out?

– Hopefully not. That is why these different solutions have been developed to secure these processes, but as far as I know they have never been tried. Wind power will be around for many years and these issues are in the future.


 
 
 
 
 
 
The new north

Local startup unveils game-changing snowmobile

Electric snowmobile built in Jörn "Can experience an almost silent journey"
Local startup unveils game-changing snowmobile

Shaping the future: Green Flight Academy's electric vision

First students about to graduate BBC made a visit: "Incredible publicity"
Shaping the future: Green Flight Academy's electric vision
Visa fler