Green Certificates Threaten Wind Power in Sweden

Development of wind energy in Sweden could “grind to a halt” if the government listens to an official expert committee on the introduction of tradable green certificates for renewables.

BRUSSELS, Belgium, BE, 2002-01-22 [] Søren Krohn, vice president of the European Wind Energy Association, quotes the Swedish renewables association SERO as calling the proposal “a catastrophe for wind power and small hydropower,” and says it has formed a coalition with other renewables associations to lobby against the measure. The Swedish government released the report last October from a committee that examined replacement of the existing investment and operating support for renewables with a green certificate scheme. The report includes a draft law to be introduced in 2003, and a global survey of similar working and proposed schemes. The proposed Swedish system for green certificates is very similar to a Danish scheme that was recently delayed after public criticism, explains Krohn. Electricity consumers would be obliged to purchase certificates from qualifying renewables for 6.4 percent by 2003, and 15.3 percent by 2010. Large energy-intensive industries would be exempt. New wind turbines and small-scale hydro currently are more expensive than the use of biomass in existing conventional coal-fired boilers, and the report predicts that most new renewable capacity will come from substitution of biomass for coal in existing power stations, at least until 2008. Certificate prices initially would average 60 SEK / MWh, since fuel substitution requires little investment. The current support for wind energy is 320 SEK/MWh, so a drop to 60 SEK would halt wind energy development, according to the Swedish Association of Wind Power Equipment Suppliers. The report is optimistic about potential international green certificate trading, says Krohn, and mentions Danish green certificates as substitutes for Swedish units. Krohn made the comments in an editorial posted on a student internet site for wind energy,
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