Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t Grant Griffiths – Sweden was a zero carbon nuclear energy leader, but nowadays reliable zero carbon nuclear is the wrong kind of zero carbon electricity.
Sweden’s Lack of Electricity Capacity Is Threatening Growth
A shift toward renewables is overwhelming the nation’s grid, leaving a potential Olympic Games in 2026 relying on reserve generators.
By Jesper Starn
3 May 2019, 14:00 GMT+10
Global trade wars and weakening export markets are not the only potential dampers on Sweden’s growth. There’s also a homegrown problem: a lack of power capacity.
The dire situation stems from the closing of the nation’s oldest reactors and a shift to wind at a time when the grid is already struggling to keep up with demand in major cities. The shortage, which impacts the nation’s main urban areas, is threatening everything from the rollout of a 5G network in the capital to investments in giant data halls and new subway lines. It could even derail Stockholm’s bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics.
It’s a stark change from the decades of cheap, surplus electricity that propelled the Nordic region’s biggest economy into one of the richest and most industrialized nations in the world. Now, electricity supplies in urban areas can’t keep up and that could exacerbate a slowdown already impacted by global uncertainty and Brexit.
“Citizens and companies are worried, irritated and even angry,” said Jonas Kamleh, a strategist for the City of Malmo, the nation’s third biggest. “How could this situation arise in the engineering nation of Sweden?”
The answer is a very ambitious green agenda. Sweden is halfway through a plan to replace the output from four reactors in the industrial south with thousands of wind turbines in the north. But grid connections, some dating back to the 1950s, aren’t up to scratch so the power isn’t shipped to where it’s really needed. And to make matters worse, city demand is surging at a faster-than-expected pace because of the electrification of everything from transport to heating.
What a surprise – trying to electrify transport adds an intolerable surge of demand to a grid which is already struggling because of the idiotic attempt to switch from zero carbon nuclear power to green energy, by building turbines in the far North of an Arctic nation which experiences brutal snow storms.