Message from the CEO

The Ukraine war, unpredictable electrical prices, and turbulence in various energy markets. Runaway costs, higher interest rates, and financial drama. In the midst of all this, exciting opportunities are opening up for us in the energy industry. FVB is also gathering strength with a new CEO at the helm.

After several years of pandemic and restrictions, who could have guessed that we would be moving into these troubled and uncertain times? No one really knows where we are going, but we all hope that there will be an end to the war in Ukraine and that things will go back to normal. At the same time, all the ongoing crises have probably made us think about important issues and that some things in our everyday lives can’t be taken for granted. It’s easy to only focus on challenges and problems. This especially applies to everything that happens in the energy and climate sector. But the fact is that there are a lot of positive and exciting things to focus on. For example, there is an exciting industrialization in Sweden where electrification is high on the agenda. A key issue in connection with the development of the energy system of the future is how to store energy in an efficient and sustainable way. This applies to heating, cooling, and electricity. Hydrogen has emerged as an interesting energy carrier and a potential piece of the puzzle when it comes to smoothing out imbalances between consumption and production of electricity.

In Europe, many countries are struggling with an important question, how to decrease their dependence on fossil fuels? At FVB, we have noticed a renewed interest from many quarters in wanting to develop district heating systems and, in some cases, build CHP plants. All forms of energy efficiency and energy storage are also important areas. District cooling continues to be interesting in certain countries where environmental benefits and reduced electricity consumption are attractive. Of course, various forms of new electricity production are being discussed, which must be renewable, or at least fossil-free. There are plans being made to increase the use of biofuels in the pursuit of fossil-free energy systems and to reach global climate goals. A somewhat contradictory discussion has arisen in the EU during the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive, where some people believe that biofuels from the forest should not be considered sustainable. The proposed restrictions on forest fuels would have major consequences for Sweden. Biofuels form the energy base for many of our district heating systems, but these fuels mostly consist of logging residues from forestry. Logging residues that, if left in the forest, would release carbon dioxide and methane. The hope is that the view on biofuels can be based on facts and a holistic perspective.

FVB has been given the opportunity to participate in Mälarenergi’s exciting project where hot water will be stored in a giant rock cavern. FVB is also participating in a research project to conduct a technical follow-up of the reservoir. It will be interesting to follow the development of this forward-looking project and to evaluate the benefits of the reservoir. It can already be said that interest in large-scale thermal storage in the district heating industry is increasing.

FVB was early on using laser scanning for documenting facilities in 3D, which is a very powerful tool for renovating and designing systems in existing facilities. FVB is now taking the technology to a new level by using VR (virtual reality) technology for design. Giving the customer the opportunity to move around in the model and look at the design using VR provides an incredible and real experience. You can get an inkling of what this is all about by reading the article about this technology in the FVB Newsletter. To fully understand the potential of this technology, you have to try it!

In this FVB Newsletter, we announce that FVB will change CEOs at the end of the year. I feel confident in handing over the baton to Per Skoglund, who has solid experience to draw on and who will be able to lead FVB (and our customers) to new successes. While it feels a little sad to leave the wonderful job as CEO of FVB, it feels like a perfect time to hand it over to the next generation. As someone before said about leaving his position as CEO: “Don’t wait for them to carry you out.” I have been CEO of this wonderful employee-owned consulting company for just over 17 years. Together with highly skilled and committed employees, a lot of good has been accomplished in the energy sector in cooperation with all our future-oriented customers.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the customers that FVB and I have had the opportunity to work for during all these years. As I will continue to work at FVB, though in a slightly different role, perhaps some of us will see each other again down the road.

After having written 34 editorials for the FVB Newsletter over the years, I realize that this will be my last one. Being able to comment on fantastic FVB projects and interesting world events and trends in the energy industry has been a rewarding task.

Winter is now here and Christmas is approaching. The usual Christmas stress is drowned in the mess of other worries. How high will electricity prices be this winter? Will we get any compensation from the Swedish government for the high energy prices? How high can inflation actually get? Where are the interest rates heading? One thing is certain though, there will be Christmas this year too. We all need relaxation, peace, and the Christmas spirit. All of us at FVB want to take the opportunity to wish all our customers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Leif Breitholtz,

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