Swedish Government to Instruct State-Owned TSO to Build Offshore Grid Infrastructure

The Swedish Government plans to commission the state-owned transmission system operator (TSO) Svenska kraftnät to expand the transmission network to areas within Sweden’s maritime territory where multiple offshore wind farms could be connected to the grid. 

“We have a rapid expansion of renewable electricity in Sweden and to meet the climate challenges, we need to accelerate the expansion further. Offshore wind power has an enormous potential to produce Swedish renewable electricity that replaces coal and oil around Europe”, said the Minister of the Environment and Climate, Per Bolund.

The government said the expansion of offshore wind was expected to significantly contribute to achieving the country’s goals for 2040, by which time Sweden targets producing 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy.

On 13 October, the government announced its intention to decide on an amendment to Svenska kraftnät’s instruction which would task the TSO with expanding the transmission network to areas within Sweden’s territorial waters where there are conditions for connecting several electricity generation facilities and where such an expansion promotes fulfillment of Sweden’s goals for renewable electricity generation. 

The government also plans to give Svenska kraftnät an assignment to begin preparatory work prior to the expansion of the offshore transmission network.

Within the assignment, Svenska kraftnät will help determine whether there is a need to develop new guidelines and instructions for those who want to connect an offshore wind farm. The TSO will also describe and clarify conditions for schedules and geographical areas for the expansion of offshore transmission networks.

Furthermore, the TSO will clarify the conditions for developers who have already submitted an application for connection and also detail on the conditions, advantages and disadvantages as well as the consequences for connected projects in introducing their own electricity areas offshore.

The amendment to the ordinance with instructions on the assignment to Svenska kraftnät enters into force on 1 January 2022 and the assignment is scheduled to be reported to the Ministry of Infrastructure no later than 15 June 2022.

According to Renewables Consulting Group (RCG), Svenska kraftnät has so far received grid connection requests totalling some 50 GW of offshore wind, with 28.9 GW of that already accepted, although not all applicants will ultimately receive grid access.

In an article from June of this year, RCG said the Swedish Government’s plan centered around extending the national electricity grid to maritime areas where several facilities, including offshore wind, could be connected. The plan. which would lower all-in costs for offshore wind farms, requires Svenska kraftnät to assume some of the project risk by building offshore grid connection infrastructures.

Photo: Lillgrund offshore wind farm. Image source: Vattenfall (archive)