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The wind of change is moving in Sweden

24/11/17 - 16:34

Swedish wind energy has been in somewhat of a slumber the last few years, where the market has suffered from low prices on electricity, as well as an excess of power produced as compared to the demand required. And it’s no wonder the market crashed – Sweden has been setting records year after year, and with the low prices on electricity, competition between suppliers disappeared. Indeed, the future for Swedish wind power looked quite bleak. However, this is all about to change.

When I visited the annual wind exhibition in Stockholm in October (VIND 2017), I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was there a positive outlook from the Swedish Wind Energy Association, but the different developers and suppliers to the industry also seemed quite cheery about the future for Swedish wind power.

And indeed – the wind of change has arrived.

According to the Swedish Wind Energy Association, the amount of orders in the second quarter of 2017 went as high a 635 MW, and they are anticipating wind power production to increase form 17,3 TWh to 22 TWh until 2020. And over the last few months, there have been several approvals and announcements for large wind farm developments in Sweden, such as GE partnering with Green Investment Group (GIG) to develop and operate 650 MW in Northern Sweden (Markbygden 1), who is expected to be the largest onshore wind farm in Europe, and the ongoing development of Åskälen in Jämtland by Swedish developer Vasa Vind and APG. Moreover, several smaller developers have started moving along with their approved developments, and the marker very well seems ready to continue its journey towards Swedens goal of a 100% renewable energy system by the year of 2040.


However, some challenges remain.

Although this all sounds quite promising, it is important to remember that all is now yet won. According to the Swedish Wind Energy Association, the situation is still quite tough for many of the developers that invested early on when both the investment cost and return on investments were considerably higher. Moreover, there is an industry wide concern regarding the municipal veto, which tends to stop many projects at a late stage, when funds have been invested and a lot of work has been put into the projects. There is a legislative proposal up which seeks to abolish this veto. Hopefully, this becomes reality, so the industry can continue its path of recovery.

What does this mean for Swedish wind?

The general industry consensus seems to be that the market is still very much recovering from the downturn after having an excess of development. However, there is casual positivism in the air. From my own point of view, I have seen an increase in demand for candidates working with Construction Management and HSE. This is a strong indicator that the industry is picking up; there are plans to start building again. And an even stronger indicator is the number of Sales Managers the industry is requiring. When companies start looking for candidates in the area of sales, you know there is growth on the horizon.

So, with that in mind – if you are looking for a new role in the renewable energy sector in Sweden (as well as Norway, Finland and Denmark), and you have experience working with either construction, HSE or sales in the Swedish wind energy market, please get in touch with me at +46 40 668 80 66 or send an email to sigrid.carstairs@cathcartenergy.com.

Sigrid Carstairs

Recruitment Consultant
Cathcart Associates Energy Limited