Swedish government gives green light to two new offshore wind farms

TT/The Local
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Swedish government gives green light to two new offshore wind farms
Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson (centre), Energy and Business Minister Ebba Busch (right) and Climate and Environment Minister Romina Pourmokhtari (left) at a press conference announcing the wind farms. Photo: Marko Säävälä/TT

The government has approved applications for two offshore wind farms off the coast of Halland in southern Sweden, despite protests from environmental organisations.


"The government is now explicitly stating, and acknowledging, that there are conflicts in almost all policies, not infrequently between the climate and the environment," Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said in a press conference.

He added that the government's decision had been difficult.

"Local environmental interest sometimes needs to be put to one side in favour of long-term climate interest, not least in the case of energy production," he added. "We're now increasing the tempo of decision-making."

Applications for the two wind farms, outside of Falkenberg and Varberg in southern Sweden, have been ongoing for a number of years. Combined, they would house over a hundred wind turbines which would supply around 6.5 terawatts once complete - electricity for around a million homes.

"These farms are the equivalent of the energy supplied by a normal-sized nuclear reactor," Kristersson said.

One of the farms, Kattegat Syd, will be built by Vattenfall, with OX2 behind the other farm, Galene. Local government in Halland has approved the farms but the decision has been appealed to the Land and Environment courts by the companies in question and by environmental organisations.


The companies want better conditions and the organisations want to secure protection for rich wildlife in the area.

Kattegat Syd is between two protected natural areas, rich in bird and marine life, such as porpoises.

If the courts deny the applications, then "there simply won't be any farms," climate and environment minister Romina Pourmokhtari said. However, the government is working on the basis that the two wind farms will be approved.

The two power companies will also liaise with the Swedish Armed Forces when deciding the height, placement and number of wind turbines, but the Armed Forces will not be able to block construction, the government said. 

Both parks will be close to Ringhals nuclear power plant, meaning connection to the national grid will be simple, Pourmokhtari said.

"We see great potential for offshore wind turbines and their ability to increase Sweden's energy production in the coming years," she said.

Ebba Busch, the energy and business minister, added that Sweden needs to rebuild a robust energy system, requiring a combination of different methods of generating power. 

"It's time for things to change now," she said, adding that a new proposition on energy policy will be announced this autumn.

"This government's energy policy has already given results, chasing megawatts has created better conditions and better confidence in energy policy than what we've seen previously," she added.


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