Sweden denies permit for $7.4B offshore wind farm because the project would interfere with its military
Sweden denied permission for developers to build the Blekinge offshore wind project, saying it would interfere with the Nordic nation’s army.
The project was planned to have 500 to 700 turbines. This would have resulted an installed capacity of about 2.5 gigawatts and investment valued at 50 billion kronor (CAD$7.4 billion), according to an e-mail from majority owner Eolus Vind AB.
The project company, Blekinge Offshore AB, is owned by Swedish developers. Hassleholm-based Eolus has 56 per cent, Vingkraft AB took 34 per cent and Vindin AB the remainder.
Sweden has set a target to generate all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2040. Prime Minister Stefan Loefven said in September that his government will spend $1.9 billion from 2017 to 2020 on climate initiatives. It generated 64 per cent of its power from clean sources last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
“The fact that this interfered with the military in some way was probably the final nail in the coffin,” said Keegan Kruger, wind analyst at BNEF. “They just don’t have the incentive right now with an abundance of cheap hydro. Also, they consider nuclear as a renewable power source for their 100 per cent renewable target by 2040 and have recently removed a tax on nuclear generation.”
The Blekinge project was being developed about 17 km off the southern coast of Sweden in Hanoebukten, an identified area of national interest. The government said that the turbines could not coexist with the operations of the armed forces in the same area.
“It is with disappointment we receive news that a social democratic and green-party government does not take advantage of the opportunity that could result in the creation of renewable electricity and jobs,” said Per Witalisson, chairman of Blekinge Offshore AB. “We think it is reasonable that even the armed forces could be prepared to be flexible for a project that could significantly enhance the security of domestic energy supply in southern Sweden.”
The government said the armed forces need the area to practice maneuvers.
“Parliament has made it clear that Sweden’s defence ambitions will increase. The armed forces need to be able to practice. Hanoebukten is one of the strategically most important defence areas Sweden has,” said Environment Minister Carolina Frost. “The government has considered this issue carefully and have concluded that in this case it is not possible to combine the defence operations with wind turbines.”
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