RISE expertise supports offshore wind development in Sweden
The number of permit applications for offshore wind power along Sweden’s coasts is increasing significantly. Through analyses, test, verification, and consultation, RISE actively supports both wind power operators and authorities.
Offshore wind power is one of the most promising options for renewable electricity generation, and Sweden has great resource potential. As wind turbines become larger, the cost per kilowatt hour (KWh) produced decreases significantly.
According to the Swedish Energy Agency, Sweden’s total electricity consumption amounted to 140 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2022.
“The offshore wind power sites currently planned along the Swedish coast amount to 90 gigawatts (GW) of installed power,” says Nermina Saracevic, Senior Project Manager for Renewable Offshore Energy at RISE. “Most of these projects are in the application stage. If just half of them are implemented, it can cover all of Sweden’s current electricity needs.”
Overlapping interests create potential risks
The growing need for fossil free energy and the increasing establishment of offshore wind farms highlight the conflicting interests that exist between shipping, commercial fishing, environmental protection, and the production of renewable energy.
The permit process when developing new wind farms is complex and involves several state and regional authorities. On behalf of various project developers, RISE analyses potential nautical risks in the establishment and operation of wind farms. These are presented together with proposals for risk mitigation measures, which are then reviewed by the Swedish Maritime Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, and other relevant stakeholders.
“When wind turbines are planned in areas with established shipping and fishing, new risks are created, and these need to be identified and minimised,” says Christian Schell, Head of Strategic Development – Maritime Environment, Risk and Operation at RISE. “RISE is an independent partner that supports a growing industry.”
“A lot revolves around ensuring that there are sufficient margins between shipping lanes and the wind farm, while at the same time considering both the marine environment in general and national, commercial fishing. We have well-established methodology for investigating maritime traffic patterns, as well as proven calculation programs for calculating the probability of allisions, collisions and groundings. The current increase in applications requires an overview of the cumulative effects of the establishment of new offshore wind farms, along with their impact on ship traffic and the marine environment.”
When wind turbines are planned in areas with established shipping and fishing, new risks are created, and these need to be identified and minimised
Upgrading of Nordic ports
The permit process for offshore wind farms can take between 7 and 10 years and requires several different stakeholders to approve the project for it to become a reality. In addition, port infrastructure and supply chains need to be adapted, as their role in a future offshore wind establishment will be significant both in the short and long terms.
RISE, via the cluster platform OffshoreVäst, is leading the Swedish part of the NOW PORTS project. It aims to support Nordic ports in ensuring adequate surfaces and quays, and that expertise is in place to create an optimal supply chain when establishing and operating offshore wind power.
The project is a joint initiative where Sweden, Norway, and Denmark collaborate on issues related to future ports and offshore wind industry.
“In addition to infrastructure issues, Swedish wind power stakeholders have indicated a need for a national coordinator who can facilitate the development of offshore wind power between different authorities, as well as regional and local politicians who have an impact on the permit process,” says Nermina Saracevic, Project Manager of NOW PORTS at RISE. “As a neutral party, RISE can assume that role.”
Risk analyses, consultation, and testing
RISE offers expertise throughout the life cycle – from pre-analyses of a proposed establishment site to decommissioning and recycling of end-of-life turbines. We possess a significant pool of expertise in the area to support this, as well as test facilities for floating wind turbines, CFD analysis for wind, and hydrodynamic design and verification.
“Today, RISE is entrusted by the majority of project developers in Sweden, where various services, such as nautical risk analyses, consultation, and testing and verification constitute some of the largest service areas,” says Christian Schell. “RISE’s experts have delivered to all major projects that have received permits from the government. Commercial offers in combination with scientific research position RISE as a strong and valuable partner to the operators who are actively pushing for the establishment of offshore wind power in Scandinavia.”