Vattenfall plans hydropower expansion in Sweden
Swedish energy firm Vatternfall has announced plans to expand its hydropower capacity in Sweden, a move welcomed by the Swedish government. The proposed expansion could result in a total capacity of 720 MW, with construction potentially commencing in 2026 and extending into the 2030s.
Vattenfall, a state-owned enterprise under the Swedish Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation, aims to meet the increasing demand for electricity by expanding its hydropower operations in four Northern Sweden locations near Umeå and Luleå.
Johan Dasht, who leads Vattenfall’s hydropower operations in the Nordic region, said in an interview with Sverige Radio that the company is currently conducting “feasibility studies.” The aim is to explore the possibility of converting small hydropower into larger pumped storage plants.
These larger plants would add flexibility to the power grid, especially when there is excess energy from wind power.
The proposed total capacity of 720 MW is expected to measure up to approximately nine percent of Vattenfall’s total hydropower production. Currently, hydropower accounts for 40 percent of Sweden’s energy production.
Four projects are in the works, and three of them are on the Lule älv River.
The Lule älv River projects involve renewing and reopening a unit at the Harsprånget power station, boosting water flow and generation at the Porjus power station, and adding a fourth unit at the Messaure power station.
The other project is conducting a pilot study to reinstate the Juktan power station on Storjuktan Lake.
Vattenfall expects to make investments in those projects between 2024 and 2028. While Dasht’s team is assessing the proposed expansion’s environmental impact, Swedish Environment and Climate Minister Romina Pourmokhtari has expressed support for the project, emphasising the need to expand fossil-free energy production in Sweden.
Authorisation processes, however, may take time as the impact on the pristine nature of Northern Sweden needs to be thoroughly evaluated.
Vattenfall has assured that it will adhere to Sweden’s stringent environmental laws and consider the balance between the natural environment and energy production.
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