Many people are waiting with bated breath for a new government to take office and for things to start happening. Now that the election campaign is over, can we all agree to stop focusing on what everyone else is doing wrong and focus on what we can do right? For the Blue Bloc, the focus of the election debates has been on nuclear power. We welcome all forms of energy, but Sweden is in dire need of energy fast. Until the day new nuclear power is in place (a reasonable guess is that it is at least 10-15 years away), other alternatives are needed. Ground-based solar parks can be built quickly where the shortage of electricity is greatest and are the cheapest form of power with the least impact on both the grid and the environment. The only thing needed is faster authorization processes.
We now know that the Swedish power grid receives enormous amounts of money in so-called bottleneck fees, money that should actually be used to expand the power grid. This year alone, it is expected that there will be a surplus of €90 billion that can be paid back to households and businesses.
High cost protection, subsidies or deductions. Of course, both households and businesses need the best conditions to get through this electricity crisis, but the government’s main focus should obviously be to bring in more power generation in SE 3 and SE 4 and to expand the power grid to remove bottlenecks. Solar energy is by far the fastest to build. As early as next year, new plants could be operational in southern and central Sweden. This would help put pressure on electricity prices during the daytime, when prices are highest and solar farms produce the most.
If the government would instead spend 90 billion on expanding solar power, we could build solar parks in SE3 and SE4 with an annual production of about 15TWh. This represents about 15% of the total consumption of these areas each year. It provides cheap green electricity production for the next 35-40 years and lowers electricity prices in the long term.
However, the basic problem is not that financial support from the state is needed to make this a reality. Today, there are many private actors who are prepared to invest in solar power, which would significantly increase the amount of solar electricity produced and thus reduce electricity prices without the state having to allocate any money at all. The problem is that the authorization processes are so long that each project can take several years and then may not happen at all. Time that does not exist if we want a functioning electricity market.
As a company, we currently have about 600 MW that are fully designed and waiting for permission to start construction. The politicians who are keen to make a difference quickly should therefore do their utmost to speed up the permit processes and thus enable a significant expansion of solar parks in Sweden.
We stand ready to expand the electricity grid in a way that would make a real difference to the wallets of households and businesses, with or without help from the government’s coffers. The only thing we need is reasonable permit processes where priority and clear directives allow the county administrative board to quickly handle the solar park cases that are currently piling up and waiting. Because there are many.