During 2015, the Sotenäs project, which is planned to become one of the largest wave energy parks in the world, progressed. In the end of 2015, all 36 generators for the first stage were in place, and the subsea generator switchgear was deployed and connected to the Swedish national grid. The wave park, situated at the Swedish west coast, will start producing electricity to the grid as soon as the buoys are connected to the generators. Several other Swedish development companies have made progress during the year and are preparing for demonstration of their techniques in the ocean. Finally the wave energy research site Lysekil has been grid connected during 2015.
SUPPORTING POLICIES FOR OCEAN ENERGY
NATIONAL STRATEGY AND TARGETS
The Swedish energy policy is based on the same foundations as the energy cooperation in the European Union (EU) and seeks to reconcile environmental sustainability, competitiveness and security of supply. The vision is that, by 2050, Sweden has a sustainable and resource efficient supply of energy and no net emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
In order to realize the vision and implement the EU 20-20-20-targets, the following national targets for renewable energy, reduction of carbon emission and efficient use of energy in Sweden by 2020 have been set:
The forecast for Sweden in 2015 is that in 2020 the first three goals will be achieved with margin, while the last goal concerning efficient energy use is more uncertain.
In 2015, the Ministry of Enterprises, Energy and Communications finished the work on a national maritime strategy, which has identified areas where actions are needed, in order to promote a sustainable development in the Swedish maritime sector. Ocean energy is one of many areas which are included. A summary in English can be found here:
Fundamental to the long-term Swedish energy policy are general economic policy instruments such as carbon tax, international emissions trading and tradable certificates for renewable electricity. From the perspective of ocean energy technology development, the renewable electricity certificate system (a tradable green certificate system) is the most relevant policy instrument.
The electricity certificate system is a market-based support system for cost-effective expansion of electricity production from renewable sources. By design, the system does not specifically target a particular renewable electricity conversion technology, i.e., is technology neutral. Electricity certificates are issued to those who produce electricity from one or more renewable energy sources, or from peat, and who have had their production plants approved by the Swedish Energy Agency. To date, certificates have been issued to producers of electricity from biofuels and peat, wind power, hydro power and solar electricity. While wave energy is one of the renewable energy sources for which producers would be eligible for certificates, none has been issued so far.
In 2011, Sweden and Norway entered into an agreement to form a joint electricity certificate market, which has been in operation since the beginning of 2012. Together with Norway, the annual production from renewable sources in 2020 shall have increased by 28,4 TWh relative to production in 2012.
PUBLIC FUNDING PROGRAMMES
The main public funding mechanism for research, business and technology development and technology demonstration are Swedish governmental agencies tasked to support academic and private sector R&D in the various stages of innovation. There are a number of governmental agencies from which researchers and developers can apply for funding.
In addition, regional authorities are able to grant funding to varying extents. In the beginning of 2015, the Swedish Energy Agency started a national ocean energy programme that will run for four years with a total budget of around €5,7 million (53 MSEK). The aim is to strengthen the research and development being done in the area and increase the cooperation between and within academia and industry. In the first call, 7 projects were approved of funding. There were companies, institute and universities involved in the projects and they covered topics such as environmental assessment, technology development, improvement of models, etc. A second call has recently opened.
MARINE SPATIAL PLANNING POLICY
The Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management is preparing the forthcoming national marine spatial plans. The marine spatial plans will provide guidance for authorities and municipalities when planning for where different activities can take place. The marine spatial plans will be directional (non-binding) during the consenting process, although the Government may adopt separate binding regulations linked to the plans prohibiting or limiting activities in destined geographical areas. During 2015, a proposal for the direction of marine spatial planning has been developed in order to clarify and support the continuing work.
There are two research sites in Sweden, Lysekil wave power research site and Söderfors marine currents research site. Both sites are operated by Uppsala University. Interest has been expressed to expand the Lysekil wave power research site and thus allow access to other universities and developers from Sweden and Europe.