As power consumers in southern Sweden are having to contend with the highest kWh prices in the country this winter season, figures from Södra, the Swedish forest owners association, show that the forest industry major is doing its part to alleviate the situation. In 2021, the Group, which has its operations in southern Sweden, generated almost 120 percent of its annual power needs supplying the surplus to the electricity grid.
New figures show that Södra’s three pulp mills located at Värö, Mörrum, and Mönsterås respectively, generated 1 790 GWh in 2021, corresponding to nearly 120 percent of the Group’s annual electricity needs.
This means that Södra generated nearly 260 GWh of excess electricity during the year, which was distributed through the local electricity grid and added to the electricity supply in Götaland.
The excess electricity corresponds to the total annual consumption of domestic electricity (excluding heating purposes) for 45 000 homes, based on figures from Statistics Sweden – about 5 700 kWh per home.
According to Henrik Brodin, Head of Energy at Södra, own electricity generation and excess electricity play a key role in production stability and value generation for Södra’s members.
Electricity generation at Södra’s pulp mills creates three major benefits: our members get more value for their forest raw material, our production is robust, and we are supporting our local communities with a continuous supply of green electricity. Electricity generation has played a particularly important role during the winter when energy prices could otherwise affect the stability of production in our mills, said Henrik Brodin.
Making use of a by-product
The electricity from Södra’s three pulp mills is a result of resource efficiency. It is mainly generated by using the energy in black liquor, which is a by-product of the pulping process. From this energy, steam is produced that is used to drive the turbines which, in turn, generate electricity.
There have been turbines at Södra’s pulp mills since 1958 and they have been improved in line with development. Södra currently has a total of nine turbines in operation.
It is important for Södra to be self-sufficient in electricity. Our production processes require a lot of energy, and by using turbines, we are taking our responsibility for energy and much more. The energy business has been a priority for Södra for many years and will remain so. The key to a strong energy business is to always maintain a central focus on energy and resource efficiencies. We will continue to invest in our energy efficiency, said Andreas Martinsson, Energy Strategist at Södra.
In 2021, Södra Cell Värö generated 770 GWh, while Södra Cell Mönsterås generated 680 GWh and Södra Cell Mörrum accounted for just over 300 GWh.
In addition to electricity, Södra delivered nearly 4 TWh of solid biomass fuels to other district heat and combined heat and power (CHP) plants in southern Sweden and delivered excess heat from its own processes to the district heating networks of Varberg, Karlshamn, and Mönsterås.