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Does wind power have a chance? Four analyses from Lund Institute of Technology


Wind power is the most rapidly growing form of energy in the world today. European wind power accounts for the greatest share, with Denmark, Germany, and Spain as leading countries. In Denmark, for example, wind power provides roughly 12 percent of production of electricity. In Sweden, too, wind power has increased, although to a more limited extent. Between 1996 and 2003 the number of plants doubled from 300 to 631, while annual production trebled from 0.15 to about 0.5 TWh. However, wind accounts for only 0.3 percent of total production in Sweden.

Wind power policy in Sweden lacked quantitative goals until 2002. The 2002 energy policy decision established that the annual use of electricity from renewable sources of energy was to increase by 10 TWh by the year 2010 from 2002 levels. The planned objective for wind power was 10 TWh by 2015. This entails a dramatic expansion of wind power, both on land and at sea.

Technical, economic, political, and social factors influence the expansion of wind power in Sweden. These include political steering instruments for the development of technology and the market, how the wind power industry and the competition between various players is working and how wind power is dealt with in municipal planning. These questions have been analyzed in four separate research projects at the Section for Environmental and Energy Systems Studies at Lund Institute of Technology, Lund University. As a whole, the studies illuminate aspects that both impede and impel the development of wind power in Sweden.

The overarching study of the development of wind power in Sweden between 1975 and 2000, Steering Instruments for the Development of Wind Power in Sweden, by Kerstin Åstrand and Lena Neij, analyzes the impact of energy policy and steering instruments on the development of technology and the market and provides explanations for why wind power has not been installed to a greater extent.

The study shows that energy policy and steering instruments have shaped the development of technology and the market for wind power in Sweden, both as regards choices of technologies and the efforts of various players in developing wind power. Earlier inflexible steering of the development of technology and the market in the direction of large-scale wind power technology and a small number of players has hampered the development of technology and the market. Furthermore, short-term thinking and lack of continuity in steering instruments have contributed to the slow growth of wind power in Sweden. Analyses of the development of technology, costs, and players indicate a market that in all probability is in need of support from continuous, long-term, and well-combined steering instruments in the future.

The reports Gone with the Wind: An Analysis of Competition between Suppliers of Wind Power Stations in Sweden by Petter Rönnborg and Subcontractors and Suppliers in the Swedish Wind Power Industry by Linn Takeuchi Waldegren map the wind power industry in Sweden. Gone with the Wind describes the wind power industry, focusing on the structure of the industry, its economic preconditions, and competition among players. The development of the industry and the various players are described. The conclusions show that the industry is oligopolistic in structure, with limited competition. This is primarily a result of the highly limited demand, the limited size and diffusion of the players on the buyer side, and the lack of clarity regarding political intentions. Problems involving the process of acquiring permission are also contributing factors.
Subcontractors and Suppliers in the Swedish Wind Power Industry treats the capacity of Swedish subcontractors to develop their market position in the wind power industry. Much of the demand attracting subcontractors covers areas of competence in which Swedish industry has traditionally been regarded as strong, so Sweden should be well positioned to acquire a greater market share than it has today. This study targets Swedish manufacturing of components, production of wind power stations, the development of the wind power market in Sweden and abroad, product development for wind power stations, relations between manufacturers of components and their customers, and the export behavior and purchasing behavior of Swedish companies.

Municipalities are important players as regards wind power, not least as planning instruments. Jamil Khan’s study, Wind Power Planning in Three Swedish Municipalities, highlights the role of municipal planning in the implementation of wind power. He compares wind power planning in three municipalities in the province of Halland: Laholm, Halmstad, and Falkenberg. They have similar physical conditions for wind power but evince stark differences in their approaches to planning. This has resulted in differences in the expansion of wind power.

Mats Nygren | alfa
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