Denmark's Ørsted has applied for permits to build 15 gigawatts (GW) of new Swedish offshore wind capacity, which could be up and running by 2032, helping to lower power prices and foster new green industries, the company said on Monday.
These applications come on top of existing plans for 3 GW, bringing Ørsted's total Swedish portfolio to 18 GW, enough to cover more than half of Sweden's total electricity consumption, the company said without providing investment figures.
"Sweden needs all the electricity production it can get, and offshore wind is clearly the fastest way to get the volumes needed to reduce electricity prices," said Jesper Kuhn Olesen, who heads up Ørsted's offshore wind projects in Sweden.
Like elsewhere in Europe, energy security tops the political agenda in Sweden, while power demand may double by 2035 from massive plans to electrify industry and society at large. Sweden only has 0.2 GW of offshore wind capacity installed at present, with no farms built since 2013 and focus instead having been on development onshore, according to lobby group Wind Europe.
The most developed of Ørsted's existing projects, the 1.5 GW Skaane Offshore Wind farm on the southern coast, could be up and running by 2029, pending approvals and the necessary offshore grid connection, Olesen told Reuters.
The new projects, dotted around the southern tip of Sweden and the Gulf of Bothnia in the north, could be delivered over the next ten years, again pending a clear regulatory framework, he added.
Ørsted is particularly seeking clarification of when projects will receive exclusive rights to acreage, he added. Sweden does not hold tenders for offshore wind development, with projects instead being proposed by firms who then seek the necessary regulatory approvals. One area could thus see multiple projects vying for permits.
Ørsted's project timing is also planned to coincide with grid build-out plans by Swedish grid operator Svenska kraftnaet, which has been tasked with expanding the transmission network to Sweden's maritime territory, Olesen said.
(Reuters - Reporting by Nora Buli, editing by Terje Solsvik)