In the first half of 2022, Sweden became the largest net exporter of electricity in the European Union. Stockholm has overtaken France, traditionally the EU leader in this field thanks to its nuclear power plants. But the maintenance problems and those related to the strong heat wave that are compromising the production capacity of the reactors has reduced the export of transalpines. Overcome, in this ranking, also by Germany and Spain. Lagging behind, on the other hand, is Italy, which is the largest net importer of electricity in the EU. This is what emerges from an analysis by EnAppSys.
But how did Sweden manage to become the bloc’s main electricity exporter? According to EnAppSys, in the first half of this year, the Scandinavian country’s electricity trade balance (i.e. the difference between exports and imports) recorded a surplus of 16 terawatt hours (TWh). To get an idea, Italy (between give and take) had to import 21.7 terawatt hours.
The main sources of Swedish electricity generation are hydroelectric and nuclear power, with 66 TWh and 52 TWh. Biofuels also play a big role, while oil production continues to decline. On the other hand, the Stockholm government has made large investments in renewables, in particular wind power: the production of electricity from wind, according to the calculations of the Swedish Energy Agency, should increase from 27.4 TWh in 2021 to 46, 9 TWh in 2024.
Looking only at the production side, however, is not enough to grasp the overall picture: the ability to export, in fact, also depends on the ability to contain the consumption of households, businesses and transport. In this respect, Sweden has long made major investments in housing and to push companies, including industry, towards efficiency. Also on transport, progress has been made which, according to Stockholm forecasts, should contain the increase in energy demand in the coming years. According to these estimates, Sweden plans to increase its net exports by 2024.
Without detracting from the merits of Stockholm, it must also be said that EnAppSys analysis is keen to point out that “Sweden’s rise to the top of the export rankings had more to do with France’s transition as a net exporter at the beginning. of the year to net importer “. The collapse of Paris is due to the troubles of its nuclear power plants, which should produce about 290 TWh this year against the 330 estimated just a year ago.
France went from being a net exporter of 21.5 TWh in the first half of 2021 to a net importer of 2.5 TWh in the first half of 2022 as imports doubled to 18.9 TWh and exports dropped to 16.4 TWh. But the French performance, more than for Paris, is a worry for Berlin: although Germany has so far been the second net exporter of electricity with 15.4 TWh, double the levels recorded in mid-2021, repercussions of a possible Stops on gas supplies from Russia would be huge. And never as in this case, French nuclear production would be vital.
To increase supply of its reactors, France’s nuclear energy regulator on Monday extended temporary waivers by allowing five power plants to dump hot water into rivers as the country grapples with its fourth summer heatwave. and an energy crisis.