Government go-ahead for major offshore wind farm

16 February, 2023

The Swedish Government has given the green light for power company Vattenfall to lay cables on the seabed for its Kriegers Flak wind farm.

– All the permits needed are now in place, says Minister for Climate and the Environment Romina Pourmokhtari (Liberal Party).

The Danish part of Kriegers Flak can be seen in the sea south of Trelleborg on Sweden’s south coast. Archive photo.

The project to build a large offshore wind farm 30 km south of Trelleborg began back in 2002.

Twenty years later, in 2022, the then Social Democrat-led Government granted permission for the wind farm to be built. However, at the time a permit from the Government for the company to lay cables on the seabed to connect the wind farm to the national grid was still lacking.

Climate and Environment Minister Romina Pourmokhtari has now announced that the Government will be giving the underwater cables the green light. The decision will be taken at a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

– We are delighted to be able to make this decision now. Commissioning Kriegers Flak in the southern Baltic Sea is is an important step, she told news agency TT.

The wind farm comprises 35–50 wind turbines which Vattenfall states will be 280 metres tall rather than 170 metres. The state-owned company estimates that if all goes according to plan, the wind farm will be operational in 2028.

Sweden has commissioned no offshore wind power projects since 2013.

Shared between three countries

The reef on which Kriegers Flak lies is shared between the economic zones of Denmark, Sweden and Germany. There has been a German wind farm there since 2015. A wind farm in the Danish zone was completed in summer 2021.

The Swedish part of the wind farm has an estimated production of about 2.6 TWh per year – about a quarter of that of the nuclear plant Forsmark 3. The company says this is equivalent to electricity for about 500 000 homes.

– It’s an excellent addition, given the current situation, says Pourmokhtari.

The Government permit for the cables comes with conditions attached, such that Vattenfall must take the marine environment and potential archaeological remains on the seabed into account.

– It will still be a complicated process, but all the permits needed are now in place to enable Vattenfall to start work, says the Minister for Climate and the Environment.

According to the minister, the reason for the project taking so long is the number of permits needed. The Government is currently reviewing the permit process for different types of energy production to see if it can be streamlined.

Government scraps subsidies

At the same time, the Government, backed by the Sweden Democrats, has decided to abolish subsidies for expansion of offshore wind power. The subsidies meant that wind power companies could receive help from the Swedish power grid to meet the cost of cables to connect wind farms to the national grid.

Pourmokhtari sees no risk of Vattenfall backing out of Kriegers Flak as a result of the change.

– There is nothing to indicate that demand for fossil-free electricity production is going to shrink. More the reverse.

She also thinks that the same principle should apply to wind power companies as to other types of energy, namely that they should be self-funding.

At the same time, Pourmokhtari has up to seven other offshore wind power projects on her desk awaiting Government permits.

TT: When will we get news about those?

– As soon as we have processed this case, we will be doing all we can to work through them as quickly as possible. I want to be very clear about that.

Text: Niklas Svahn/TT

Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Picture: The Danish part of Kriegers flak south of Trelleborg. Arcive picture

Offshore wind power projects awaiting Government decisions:

Södra Victoria. Location: South-east of Öland. Company applying: RWE. Planned electricity production: 6–8 TWh per year.

Kattegatt Syd. Location: West of Falkenberg. Company: Vattenfall. Electricity production: 5 TWh.

Skåne Havsvindpark. Location: South of Ystad. Company: Ørsted. Electricity production: 6–7 TWh.

Galatea-Galene. Location: West of Varberg and Falkenberg. Company: OX2. Electricity production: 6-7 TWh.

Triton. Location: South of Ystad. Company: OX2. Electricity production: 7.5 TWh.

Aurora. Location: South of Gotland, east of Öland. Company: OX2. Electricity production: 24 TWh.

Source: Swedish wind energy, Vattenfall

Text: Niklas Svahn/TT
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

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