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Experts say Sweden's wind farms are growing too fast

Radio SwedenEye on the Arctic
Loren Holmes photo

Wind power has soared to new heights in Sweden but some experts believe the renewable energy source could be expanding too rapidly, Swedish Radio News reports.

In 2013, electricity generated from wind increased by nearly 30 percent compared to 2012, statistics published Monday by the trade association Swedish Energy show. Altogether, wind farms now produce more power than a single, large Swedish nuclear reactor generates per year.

However, members of the energy committee at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences are concerned that the focus on wind power has gone too far.

The expansion of wind power has driven down electricity prices in the Nordic countries. This is positive in the short term, the experts say, but leads power companies to avoid investing in other more stable forms of power that are needed for a secure power supply.

“The problem is that even Denmark and Germany are expanding wind farms in the same belt as Sweden.... When it is very windy not all of the electricity will be used,” committee member Harry Frank told Swedish Radio News.

Anton Steen, an analyst with the trade association Swedish Wind Energy, said Sweden can make use of its excess wind power by building more electric cables to neighboring countries.

“If you’re looking for maximum environmental benefits, it’s possible to build more cables to Poland and Germany. Poland has a very high share of fossil power generation, over 90 percent, so there we could be a big help,” Steen said.

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