Mörbylånga invested in wind power in Småland
In a dramatic location, high above Lake Vättern and next to the ruins of Brahehus manor, nine wind turbines have been generating 56 million KWh per year since the beginning of 2011. One of the turbines is owned by the Municipality of Mörbylånga, which now covers much of its energy consumption through wind power.
Chief Executive Staffan Larsson explains how Mörbylånga has become a greener Municipality.
Why did Mörbylånga invest in wind power?
Quite simply, a few important pieces of the jigsaw just happened to fall into place at the same time. Firstly, ours is one of 14 municipalities which have pledged to make our region fossil-free by 2030. Secondly, the politicians in the Municipality had asked the administration to examine all possible energy saving measures. In the light of Mörbylånga’s clear growth targets, an energy solution which is sustainable in the long term is essential. This was as far as we’d got when, in 2009, we were offered the opportunity to become the owner of a turnkey wind turbine solution. For us, there were several advantages, both political and financial, in owning a wind turbine. One thing to remember is that, in Mörbylånga, we are always happy to consider new and exciting solutions. We are certainly not set in our ways.
And you liked what the calculations told you?
Yes, and the fact is that the outcome has been better than the calculations suggested so far. Since the start-up in 2011, we have found that the electricity produced by our wind turbine covers more than half of our Municipality’s total energy requirement. The final figures are not available yet, but we expect that the investment will have freed up around SEK 4 million in capital on an annual basis.
The island of Öland in the Baltic Sea is a place of sunshine and wind – so why is your turbine situated at Brahehus on mainland Sweden, not at the Långe Jan lighthouse on the island?
It was never a question of whether or not we built a wind turbine on Öland. We were offered the opportunity to own a turbine which formed part of a wind farm, and the decision on where to build the wind farm had already been made. All building permits necessary under the Planning and Building Act, as well as applications and reports required under the Environmental Code, were already in place when we received the offer.
What are your experiences to date?
When we look back, the overall verdict is very positive. We are obviously extremely happy with the financial outcome, and the investment in wind power has had a major positive effect on our profile. It shows that ours is a Municipality which takes environmental and climate policies seriously, and acts accordingly. Although Mörbylånga is a Municipality which is prepared to think outside the box, the option of owning a wind turbine was not an obvious choice to some of the politicians. This was a new type of deal for us. But we regard our investment as the same as any other investment in property, and we acted in accordance with the prudence principle.
The partnership with OX2 during the preparation process was of great significance to the outcome, and the people at OX2 acted with great professionalism and commitment. So although there was a tight schedule, the decision could be made on time.
And now the wind turbine is up and running. How well is the partnership with OX2 working?
We are very happy with how OX2 is handling the operation. We receive regular reports, and OX2 continued to act professionally after the deal had been signed. In fact, it’s remarkable how keen OX2 is to please. They answer our questions immediately, and the service has never faltered. We feel really confident about our relationship with OX2, and in the way they are looking after our wind turbine.
And finally, do you have any advice for other municipalities?
Invest in wind power. Mörbylånga’s experience of this has been extremely positive. We had an extremely tight deadline, so everything had to run like clockwork. One very good piece of advice is to be totally sure of your facts when you are presenting the issue to politicians. Ideally, your presentation should be clear and easily understood if it is to show how the deal works and demonstrate that the investment will pay off. In Mörbylånga, we received excellent assistance from OX2’s representatives and made full use of their experience when we reviewed both the deal and the calculations.
Another tip is to make sure of the balance responsibility and the continuing collaboration with future electricity suppliers. In the beginning, we didn’t really give much thought to the operating agreement.
About Mörbylånga Municipality
- The Municipality of Mörbylånga has 14,000 inhabitants and covers the southern end of the island of Öland in the Baltic Sea
- The Municipality’s annual electricity consumption stands at around 12,000 MWh
- The wind turbine is a Siemens 2.3 MW with a hub height of 99.5 metres and a rotor diameter of 101 metres
- The wind turbine produces 5,600 MWh per year
- In operation, the wind turbine helps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 4,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year
- The wind turbine is one of nine turbines situated north-east of Gränna in the Municipality of Jönköping. Click here for more information on the Brahehus wind farm