Preem, a leading Swedish independent oil company today announced that it was abandoning its long sort after application to expand its oil refinery near Gothenburg. The company made the announcement via a press release, in which it said that the company’s Board has decided to do this at a meeting over the weekend. The company attributed the decision to the corona crisis which had changed the projected economics of their desired investment, saying that resources will now be concentrated on Preem's other development projects, which will contribute to increased renewable production in a clearer way.
Whether this is the only reason will be much speculated about, as the refinery upgrade proposal was bitterly fought over by environmentalists, who disputed that it was a green initiative, seeing instead a black core with a thin green cloak, in what would have created a major source of new GHG emissions in Sweden. In fact, the issue had the potential to rip apart the shaky governing alliance in Sweden, with the Greens, the smaller party in a minority coalition potentially at risk of pulling out of the government if the project went ahead. The Climate Minister and Deputy PM, Isabella Lövin (Greens) welcomed the announcement claiming that the government's budget investments in biofuels may have had an impact on Preem's decision. “I am convinced that it has sent a strong signal to Preem … We introduced the first steps already in 2018, but now we have screwed it up significantly.” Lövin said she also believed that it is a signal to investors in renewable fuels that there is a large market in Sweden. “We want to see sustainable renewable fuels, and not have to become dependent on imports from other countries.”
Per Bolund, the Green Party's co-spokesman (alongside Lövin), tweeted: "Whoever dares wins. Green politics shows the way forward. Good for Sweden and the jobs that the industry understands and invests for the future".
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen will meet virtually with the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. Amongst other things, the meeting will result in Denmark becoming part of the Indian initiative International Solar Alliance (ISA). Modi and the then President of France, François Hollande, presented the International Solar Alliance in connection with the opening of the climate summit in Paris in 2015.
Denmark’s government announced a new green research strategy, setting the direction for green research and strengthening interaction with the business community, worth DKK 750 million [€100 million). The strategy contains four concrete research missions that contribute most to the green transition.
The missions are to be solved by green partnerships, bringing together research, business and authorities in a long-term and strategic effort.
Swedbank joins the Energy Efficient Mortgages Initiative
Swedbank has joined the Energy Efficient Mortgages Initiative, a collaboration between lending institutions aiming to create more favourable conditions for mortgage customers who invest in energy efficiency solutions in their homes. With the housing sector standing for 39% of Sweden’s energy consumption in 2018. EEMI is an EU Commission initiative and cooperation between 60 lending institutions. The idea behind EEMI is that banks and lending institutions can play an important role in financing energy efficiency measures in society.
Azelio states that it is planning a global and long-term collaboration with Stena Aluminum, where recycled liquid aluminum will be used as energy storage. The approach is described as a breakthrough in the industrialisation of the product that will result in large energy savings, giving Azelio’s energy storage system a stronger climate profile. The press release says, “Circular economy is central to Azelio’s offering. We store renewable energy in a recycled raw material which also has the beneficial properties of not losing storage capacity over time and being possible to recycle again. The collaboration with Stena Aluminum will be an important cog in our work to deliver sustainable solutions for storing renewable energy”.
LKAB, a major Swedish iron-ore miner contemplates an industrial park, which will be a chemical industrial centre, extracting resources with innovative technology and setting a world-leading standard on clean products, energy efficiency and emissions. The goal of the ReeMAP project is to recycle mining waste from LKAB's iron ore production through fossil-free processes, and transform it into products that the EU classifies as critical raw materials, due to high import dependence and great importance for our economy. Phosphorus minerals and rare earth metals are the main target, in addition to gypsum and fluorine products, which will also be produced in the industrial park, via wet chemical processes. LKAB says it will be a multi-billion investment that will create hundreds of jobs.
Vattenfall and Glennmont Partners, a leading European investor in renewable energy, have signed a long-term power balance agreement for Piiparinmäki, a new 211 MW wind farm that will be the largest in Finland. The Piiparinmäki onshore wind farm, acquired by Glennmont Partners in September last year, is located in central Finland near Kajaani and will have 41 wind turbines. When Piiparinmäki is planned to be operational in 2021, it will be the largest wind farm in Finland with an estimated annual production of approximately 700 GWh.
Electricity production from wind power is increasing rapidly in Sweden, but the electricity system failing to adapted according to Erik Ek, Operations Manager at Svenska Kraftnät, the Swedish grid operator. Even today, when wind accounts for 15% of electricity the infrastructure is not adapted, which means that we risk a power shortage with temporary interruptions. According to Ek, “on Tuesday, it blew very little in the whole of Europe, and several areas flagged that they had no reserves. If there is a mistake somewhere, we end up in a very critical situation ... Wind is the future, absolutely. But I lack a plan for how the transition to a renewable system will go.”
British Zero Avia has completed a flight powered by a PowerCell MS-100 fuel cell system, making it a world's first flight with a commercial single-engine plane where propulsion took place with the help of hydrogen and fuel cells.
The flight departed from Cranfield University Airport, north of London. The plane, a 6-seater Piper Malibu, was rebuilt for fuel cell operation by the British company Zero Avia and equipped with a PowerCell MS-100 fuel cell system. During the 8-minute flight, the plane reached an altitude of about 300 meters and a speed of just over 180 kilometers per hour (100 knots). Karin Nilsson, acting CEO of PowerCell Sweden AB said “This shows that fuel cells and hydrogen are a well-functioning solution that can seriously contribute to the transition to more sustainable flying that is a must if we are to be able to handle the climate crisis.”
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 clip the stories of most relevance to international businesspeople and policy experts from the flow of news. We supplement these with our own opinion pieces and commentary, in English. Mundus was founded in 2012 to provide information and analysis to embassies accredited to Sweden. Today, we deliver news, analysis and media monitoring of the Nordic countries to the international community in the Nordics.