Swedish power grid: In the worst case, we disconnect the electricity

Swedish power grid: In the worst case, we disconnect the electricity

This winter, Sweden will have to import electricity more days than normal winters, from 39 hours in a normal winter to upwards of 150 hours, according to Svenska kraftnät’s calculations. At the same time, the possibilities to import electricity have deteriorated, among other things as a result of the war in Ukraine. And if it is not possible to import electricity when Sweden suffers a shortage, Swedish Power Grid may disconnect the electricity for a number of hours on the coldest days. “In the worst case, we will from our control rooms order our network owners to disconnect for a few hours,” says Lotta Medelius-Bredhe.

High cost protection against expensive electricity bills

Svenska kraftnät is currently investigating how the high-cost protection against high electricity costs should be designed. It was the Swedish government that promised the high-cost protection in August. According to the government, there will be SEK 90 billion this year and next year in so-called bottleneck fees to be paid out to households and businesses. But according to the Economic Regulatory Authority’s latest forecast, Svenska kraftnät will receive a full 170 billion kroner this year and next year. According to the assignment from the Swedish government, Svenska kraftnät must be ready with its proposal for what the high-cost protection should look like by November 15. Ulf Kristersson (M) wants the details to be ready as early as November 1, but Lotta Medelius-Bredhe cannot promise that, she says they are working according to the transitional government’s directives. “We are hurrying as much as we can to be able to deliver on this by November 15 at the latest, and preferably earlier,” says Lotta Medelius-Bredhe.

The main networks are not enough

Electricity prices are at record highs, and so are the price differences between north and south. Swedish power grids have received criticism for being too slow to equip and expand the main grids for electricity, or the transmission grids, which are supposed to distribute the power where it is needed in the country. It affects both households and businesses. The green transition in northern Sweden risks being delayed because the electricity transmission is not being expanded at the same pace as the companies want to expand their projects. One of the many companies affected is SSAB, which plans to build a new electric steel plant in Luleå as part of the HYBRIT project to produce fossil-free steel. SSAB needs a power line between Svartbyn in Boden and the plant in Luleå. But they have still not received an allocation from the Swedish power grid, which risks delaying the project and thus the conversion. Lotta Medelius-Bredhe says that the number of companies that have applied for allocation in recent years in northern Sweden far exceeded their expectations and that they therefore did not have time. “No forecaster has shown this dramatic increase that we are seeing,” says Lotta Medelius-Bredhe.

Guest: Lotta Medelius-Bredhedirector general of Swedish power grid
Comment: Lina Bertling Tjernbergprofessor of power grids at the Royal Institute of Technology
Host: Erika Mårtensson
Producer: Maja Lagercrantz
Technician: Tobias Carlsson


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