Record large expansion of renewable electricity in the electricity certificate system

During 2009, a record large expansion of renewable electricity was recorded within the electricity certificate system. Calculations show this expansion will provide an increase of 2.2 TWh of renewable energy per year, beginning in 2010. Of this increase, biomass CHP plant capacity is responsible for 1.2 TWh and windpower for 1 TWh.

"We have never seen such a large expansion of renewable electricity in the the electricity certificate system before. First and foremost, there has been a large expansion in biomass CHP plant capacity. In 2009, new biomass CHP plants were installed with a total annual production computed to be 1.2 TWh. In comparison, the increase in 2008 was 0.3 TWh," says Gustav Ebenå, a Unit Manager for the Swedish Energy Agency.

"The cause of this increase in biomass CHP plant capacity is that a number of large CHP plants were completed during 2009, for example the Igelsta CHP Plant in Södertälje.

The Swedish electricity certificate system has set a goal of increasing renewable electricity production by 25 TWh up to the year 2020, in comparison with 2002. During the year 2009, a total of 15.6 TWh of electricity was produced within the system, which corresponds to an increase of 9.1 TWh in comparison with the year 2002.

The electricity certificate system is based upon producers of renewable electricity being awarded one electricity certificate for a megawatt hour of renewable electricity. The energy sources that have a right to be awarded electricity certificates are windpower, certain types of hydroelectric power, certain biofuels, solar energy, geothermal energy, wave energy and peat in CHP plants.

The driving force for creating increased renewable electricity production comes from the demand for electricity certificates. The demand is based upon an obligation by electricity suppliers and certain electricity users to purchase electricity certificates corresponding to a fixed portion of their electricity deliveries/usage, a so-called quota obligation. By increasing the quota, the demand for electricity certificates also increases. For 2009, entities subject to a quota obligation purchased and submitted electricity certificates corresponding to 99.99 percent of their quota obligations. This involved a good 15.4 million electricity certificates being annulled.

The difference between the demand for electricity certificates and the production of electricity certificates for the year 2009 was approx. 0.2 TWh. This gives a marginal change to the surplus, which during the prior three years has been approx. 5 million electricity certificates. Electricity usage subject to a quota obligations comprised 90.6 TWh in 2009.

"In consequence upon a number of contributing factors, including a strong recession in the industries subject to quota obligations, the electricity usage subject to a quota obligations was nearly 4 TWh lower than expected," says Gustav Ebenå.

Swedish industries that are electricity intensive and subject to international competition are exempted from quota obligations for the electricity that they use in their manufacturing processes. This exemption amounted to 36.5-37.4 TWh during the year 2009.

The companies that did not annul a sufficient number of electricity certificates in order to fulfil their quota obligations have a quota obligation fee imposed on them that for 2009 was SEK 470 per missing certificate. At present, this corresponds in total to SEK 0.7 million. This sum will increase further as approx. 18 companies have still not fulfilled their declaration obligations.