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Södra records record green power deliveries to the grid

In 2017, Swedish forest owners' association Södra, delivered more green electricity from its forest industry operations to the national electricity grid than ever before, and six times more compared with 2010. In the same year, Södra delivered heat equivalent to the district heating requirements of 25 000 homes. The increase in energy deliveries was enabled by Södra’s investments in its pulp mills over the past few years.

Since 2010, Swedish forest owners’ association Södra has transformed from an electricity purchaser to becoming self-sufficient and, now, is a major supplier of green electricity to the Swedish national electricity grid. The electricity is generated from the forest biomass processed at Södra Cell’s three pulp mills – Värö, Mörrum and Mönsterås (image courtesy Södra).

According to the company, a total of 335 GWh of electricity was supplied in 2017, equivalent to the annual consumption of 130 000 electric vehicles (EV’s) representing its largest-ever electricity delivery.

These deliveries are very positive. Over the past few years, we have invested SEK 6 billion (≈ EUR 583.5 million) in our pulp mills to increase production, which has also led to the higher generation of green electricity. Sweden’s objective for 2030 is to increase the number of electric cars from 50 000 to 1 million, thereby increasing the amount of electricity required for road transport from approximately 100 GWh to 2.5 – 3 TWh. The forest industry can make a contribution here, and this is one of many examples of how forests can play a key role in the transition to a bioeconomy, said Henric Dernegård, Energy Co-ordinator at Södra.

In addition to green electricity, Södra also delivered 414 GWh of heating to district heating networks in 2017, equivalent to the heating requirements of 25,000 homes. The heating is delivered to nearby communities from Södra’s sawmills at Kinda and Torsås, and to Varberg, Karlshamn and Mönsterås from Södra’s three pulp mills.

Deliveries to district heating networks mainly comprise excess heat from production processes. Our goal is to achieve resource efficiency and create social value by using every part of the tree, said Dernegård.

While Södra has been self-sufficient in green electricity since 2010, efforts are also underway to reduce Södra’s own electricity consumption. One of Södra’s sustainability targets is resource efficiency – to reduce electricity and heating consumption by at least 10 percent by 2025.

A note of the calculations

A typical electric car model consumes 2 kWh of electricity per 10 kilometres and the average annual distance travelled by a passenger car in Sweden is 12 240 kilometres. 1 TWh = 1 000  GWh = 1 million MWh = 1 billion kWh.

According to the Swedish Energy Agency’s report “Energy statistics for one and two-dwelling buildings in 2016” (ES 2017:03) the average energy consumption for heating and hot water was 16 200 kWh per dwelling in Sweden in 2016.

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