Without more wind turbines, electrification will not continue to spin
Higher demands on Swedish wind power than in the rest of the EU prevent the expansion of wind power and thus make it more difficult to reduce climate emissions and to secure the growth and competitiveness of industry. In Sweden, the expansion is delayed, among other things, by the rules for wind turbines' obstacle lighting. Here, the government has a chance to start implementing the electrification strategy and allow technology used in other countries - so that obstacle lighting can prevent plane crashes without hindering climate change.
Sweden is at the beginning of a radical and urgent change. The climate emissions that heat our planet must vanish. Electrification is an important key and the transformation of the industrial and transport sectors can lead to a doubling of the need for electricity within 20 years. Obstacle lighting must prevent aviation accidents - not obstruct the expansion of electricity production needed for the transport and industrial sectors' climate change.
The industry is clear that only wind power can be built so quickly, on such a large scale and at as low a cost as needed for their electrification. The expansion of wind power has been strong for many years, but now fewer and fewer plans are granted permits. If the negative trend continues, both climate change and the competitiveness of industry in the global market, which demands climate-neutral products, will be jeopardized. A state investigation has found that municipalities often say no to wind turbines that are higher than 150 meters. The main reason is that our national rules state that wind turbines above this altitude must be equipped with a high-intensity white light to be visible to the aircraft. The light is feared to be disturbing to surrounding residents. Concerns about disruption must be respected, but there are two simple solutions that the government can implement quickly:
1. Instruct the Swedish Transport Agency to harmonize the requirements for obstacle lighting for wind power with international guidelines. According to ICAO, the International Civil Aviation Organization, medium-intensity red light is sufficient for buildings up to a total height of 315 meters.
2. Instruct the Swedish Transport Agency to prepare basic regulations for demand-controlled obstacle lighting in Swedish wind turbines, a technology that is already used in other EU countries and which means that obstacle lighting can be switched off when no aircraft is nearby.
The technical development is fast in wind power. The wind turbines built today produce three times more electricity than those built ten years ago. Production takes place 90 percent of the year's hours, and it is best in the winter when electricity is needed most. A limit of 150 meters total height means that modern wind turbines with the best possible technology and a total height of 250 meters are not allowed. Permits with the lower height become meaningless because such wind turbines have such a high production cost that they cannot be built for economic reasons.
Obstacle lighting must prevent aviation accidents - not obstruct the expansion of electricity production needed for the transport and industrial sectors' climate change. Last year, the Swedish Transport Agency revised its regulations without any positive effect. Now is the time for the government to act to realize the electrification strategy and ensure that the authority repeats and does the right thing.
CEO Swedish Wind Energy
Chairman of the Swedish Wind Power Association
VD Wind Sweden
CEO of Energy Companies