The state-owned Swedish power grid has issued a warning about a lack of electricity posing a serious threat to the planned industrial boom in northern Sweden. Despite multibillion investment commitments to the main grid, this will be insufficient to meet the rapidly growing power needs of the industry. The expansion of industrial projects, including fossil-free steel, batteries, fertilisers and wind power, requires large amounts of electricity. Svenska kraftnät, responsible for the Swedish electricity system, has planned grid projects worth over SEK 10 billion in upper Norrland, but they communicate that it won't be enough to meet the increasing electricity demand. Urgent measures, such as expanding electricity production and network capacity, along with increased flexibility in consumption, are necessary to ensure the region's energy requirements are met in time for climate change and industrialization.
Or, as Daniel Gustafsson,Head of the Power System department at Svenska kraftnät, puts it "We think the situation is very serious and therefore want to clearly signal that the plans we have to expand the main grid will only cover a small part of the very large needs for increased electricity output that we only see until around 2030 in Norrland".
The Danish Climate Minister, Lars Aagaard, finds himself embroiled in a growing controversy as accusations of withholding crucial information regarding the financial instability of waste incineration plants come to light. The ongoing debate revolves around a proposed waste law currently under consideration by the Danish Parliament, which, if passed, could potentially lead to a wave of bankruptcies among municipal incinerators, resulting in a significant 30% reduction in overall plant capacity. While Aagaard has maintained that it is impossible to accurately assess which specific facilities would be affected by the legislation, a recent revelation has shed light on a 2017 report that identified vulnerable incineration plants. This revelation has triggered a wave of frustration and concern among industry experts and local officials who question the lack of transparency and Aagaard's failure to provide a comprehensive list of at-risk plants.
Moreover, the SF party is currently experiencing significant internal turmoil due to its support for a new waste law. A large group of city councillors within the party have voiced their strong dissatisfaction with the party's decision to back the law, leading to heated debates and tensions. They argue that the claimed CO2 reductions may not materialise as projected, and there are fears that the bankruptcy of incineration plants could have severe local economic consequences. The discontent among the city councillors stems from a perceived lack of responsiveness from the party leadership to their concerns and the belief that SF has deviated from its core principles by supporting the law.
The capacity of planned wind power projects in Finland has surged by over 80% in the span of six months, according to the Finnish Wind Power Association. Currently, there are more than 121 GW of wind power projects in the pipeline, with approximately half on land and half at sea. The number of offshore wind power projects has increased 2.5 times in the same period, mainly located in the economic water area and North Ostrobothnia. Even with conservative estimates, these projects have the potential to produce over 450 TWh of electricity annually, which is more than five times Finland's current electricity consumption. The growing demand for electricity, particularly as the industry transitions to greener practices, necessitates a substantial increase in clean electricity production. Wind power is seen as a crucial solution to meet these requirements, but clear and efficient planning, approval, and appeal processes are essential to ensure the successful implementation of these projects.
Finnish renewable energy developer Nordi has received approval from the Technical Committee in Kristinestad to proceed with plans for a solar power plant in Kristinestad in western Finland. The project, valued at over EUR 30 million, aims to begin construction in 2024 and start generating energy by 2025. The solar power plant is expected to produce between 45 and 55 GWh annually. Nordi's objective is to contribute to increasing domestic renewable energy production and support future investments in the industry. The chosen location in Lålby is deemed ideal for the project, with existing infrastructure that eliminates the need for new power lines. The city of Kristinestad will purchase a 60-hectare area from Pohjolan Voima for a price of one euro and lease it to Nordi for the project. With 74 wind turbines currently in operation and an additional 44 under construction, the new solar power plant will provide renewable energy to planned industrial projects in the area.
Terntank, a shipping company, has received the Next Generation Ship Award for its innovative newbuilds designed to operate with e-methanol and folding sails. The company ordered three 15,000 dwt tankers equipped with dual fuel machinery and fold-down sails from CMHI Jinling Shipyard in China. These vessels, designed in collaboration with Terntank and Kongsberg, will be ice-strengthened and feature Terntank's Hybrid Solution, including an electrical supply system, battery pack and shore power connection. The award recognizes Terntank's commitment to reducing emissions and achieving climate goals set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The first vessel is expected to be delivered in March 2025.
Magnus Takvam, a political commentator, comments on the Norwegian Environment Agency's climate plan and the achievement of the Hurdal target, which aims for a 55% climate cut by 2030. Takvam suggests that the target may be unrealistic and questions the feasibility of generating large amounts of new energy within such a short timeframe. He also highlights the lack of coordination and broad mobilisation in achieving ambitious climate goals. The Norwegian Environment Agency presented a list of climate measures that could "almost" achieve the Hurdal target, but it would require rapid increases in access to energy and the implementation of all proposed measures. Takvam notes that the Hurdal target has been criticised as unrealistic but acknowledges its potential as a tool to push sectors of society in the desired direction.
Takvam also touches upon the confusion caused by different climate targets and suggests that focusing on the Paris target while defining it as a minimum could be a good strategy. Moreover, he discusses the measures proposed by the Norwegian Environment Agency, including carbon capture and storage and dietary changes, as well as the potential opposition from the Center Party and agriculture. Regarding offshore wind development, Takvam mentions the cost gap and the need for subsidies. The Conservative Party withdrew from the majority on this issue, leading to uncertainty about financing and spreading costs over several years. Takvam also raises concerns about delays in the transition to a greener industry and emphasises the importance of gradually developing wind resources in the North Sea.
The UK's much-delayed Hinkley C nuclear plant looks likely to be further pushed back as would-be operator EDF said there is an increasing risk of a 2028 start. The plant was given the green light seven years ago and persistent setbacks are said to have brought the project to at least a £25 billion, up from initial estimates of £18 billion. Taking into account inflation, the plant could cost well over £30 bln, EDF said.
The Nordic countries are some of the most dynamic and successful economies in the world. They are also leaders in sustainability, from renewable energy, biofuels, carbon capture and storage and the hydrogen economy, circular economy business models and battery development, the Nordics are pioneers in policy design, technology development and consumer uptake. Mundus Nordic Green News is covering this transition for the international community. Every day we curate the stories of most relevance to international businesspeople and policy experts from the flow of news. Mundus Nordic Green Indices summarise the meta-data from our daily coverage to enable easy tracking of trends. We supplement these with our own opinion pieces and commentary.