Energy crisis and energy prices have marked the past year and the situation has hit many electricity-intensive companies hard. Di has previously reported on how business has tackled the new challenges, among other things demand for solar cells, battery storage and heat pumps has shot through the roof. New data from Swedish power grid shows that 2022 was a record year in terms of the number of applications received from companies to deliver support services and electricity to the power grid. It is no longer an area that only energy companies deal with, but actors in a number of different sectors act in the same way.”There have been three times more expressions of interest compared to 2021. Then we do a pre-qualification of those who can technically meet our requirements for speed, endurance and the like. There, too, we have seen an equally large increase in applicants who pass that step. So a lot of new resources are being added and even though they may not be that big yet, they are important for the electricity grid,” says Anna Jäderström, balance market manager at Svenska kraftnät. A clear majority of the expressions of interest comes from companies that bought energy storage they want to connect to the grid. The market for energy storage has grown like an avalanche after Svenska kraftnät raised its compensation for services that can balance the frequency in the power system. But the batteries also act as a storage device for the fluctuating electricity from renewable sources. Stena Fastigheter has recently announced a major investment in the area. Among other things, it has placed an order for energy storage for several of its properties in Gothenburg, Stockholm and Malmö. The idea is to produce your own electricity mainly through solar cells during the day, so that it is available after dark. “There are several business opportunities with a battery warehouse. We also work on delivering frequency regulation, depending on how much energy we ourselves need. We don’t want to suffer from a power shortage, but the idea is to have a more stable supply in the future with increasingly volatile prices and a larger share of unpredictable electricity production,” says Cecilia Fasth, Group CEO at Stena Fastigheter.Another aspect is that the company can reach its sustainability goals and reduce its emissions. Something that consumers, investors and regulators are increasingly demanding. “We want to work with sustainability issues and then we need to work like this. It also enables us to work more circularly as the battery warehouses reuse used batteries from vehicles,” says Cecilia Fasth. Real estate companies, along with industrial players, are the ones who most often invest in self-produced energy or storage and submit notifications to Svenska kraftnät. Sjöbohem, which operates in Skåne, began its investment in producing and storing energy for its properties a few years before electricity prices skyrocketed. CEO Morgan Johnsson is happy about that today. “It’s great to have your own production. But the problem was how to store the electricity until we need it. We chose to build a facility for hydrogen production, through the hydrogen we can then produce electricity if needed. We also have batteries, but they don’t work to be able to store cheap summer electricity for the winter,” he says. Sjöbohem accelerated during last year its expansion of its own energy sources. Some of the properties have solar cells, but they have also been equipped with several smaller wind turbines. The expectation is that next year will produce 30 percent of the electricity that is consumed.”With today’s electricity prices, our investments will pay off in less than seven years. It is super profitable to work with these pieces,” says Morgan Johnsson. Something that is still highlighted as a brake block for investments in own electricity production is the energy tax that the companies have to pay when they get over a certain limit. “We will try to install as much we can on every property, until we reach the limit, which is 500 kilowatts of installed power for solar. But we hope that the limit will change and then we want to produce even more electricity”, says Martin Norrman, CEO of Biltema Real Estate, whose parent company recently decided to invest in covering all its department stores and warehouses with solar cells.The goal for all the actors mentioned is still to become completely self-sufficient in energy. One company that states that it has already reached that point is Ikea. “In the Swedish market, all the electricity we consume in our department stores comes from our two Swedish wind farms,” says Frederik de Jong, head of investments in renewable energy at Ingka Investments. Ikea’s parent company Ingka Group owns 575 wind turbines and 20 solar parks in 17 different countries . In addition, the department stores and warehouses are covered with close to a million solar panels. The company’s goal is to continue investing in the area. Among other things, they are currently investing in several wind power projects in Sweden. And the expectation from Svenska kraftnät is that more and more companies outside the energy sector will follow suit.”Electricity supply is extremely central for the companies to be able to conduct their business. It goes without saying that you review your livelihood, especially with the extremely high prices. I think the trend will continue,” says Anna Jäderström on Svenska kraftnät.
Here are some of the companies’ energy investments
Ikea has invested in three offshore wind power projects in Sweden: Galatea-Galene, off Halland, Triton, off the south coast, and Aurora, to be located between Öland and Gotland. Upon completion, the three projects can produce up to 38 TWh, which is more than 25 percent of Sweden’s electricity consumption in 2021. Car theme states that they are in the process of investing an amount of billions in solar cells to be installed in the around 140 department stores in the Nordics and all warehouses owned by the group. The solar panels will cover an area of one million square meters and correspond to an output of 210,000 kW, according to the company’s calculations. Stena Properties has ordered six energy storage systems from the battery company Batteryloop. The total storage capacity is a total of 1,770 kWh, which corresponds to the 24-hour need for household electricity for 360 apartments. Sea bohemian has completed its own test facility with a wind turbine and 800 solar panels where hydrogen is produced. Currently, the company is working on installing smaller wind turbines and solar cells on its properties. The company has also submitted three building permit applications for higher wind turbines in Sjöbo. Polar bread has, via its subsidiary Polarkraft, had a long-term strategy to become self-sufficient in electricity. Already in 2014, four wind turbines were built and another one will be added in 2021. Åbro announced in 2022 a solar park of 10 hectares in connection with its brewery, which corresponds to roughly 14 full-sized football pitches. An estimated production of 8,000,000 kWh makes the company self-sufficient in solar energy.