FVB-News 43: Message from the CEO
“Major investments are being made in Borås and Västerås. Two exciting renewal projects focusing on CHP and renewable energy production.”
Not only is Borås Energi & Miljö investing in a new CHP plant, it is also building a new sewage treatment plant. This creates both synergy effects and environmental benefits. This huge and complex project has been controversial and sometimes challenged. However, after many demanding challenges, the project is approaching the finishing line. Some of the challenges came from the choice to build the sewage treatment plant and CHP plant in the same place, well outside the urban area. Connecting the facilities to the city’s infrastructure via long transit pipes has been difficult. The hope is now that the citizens of Borås will be able to benefit from and enjoy these forward-thinking facilities for many years to come.
Mälarenergi’s Block 7 is also a renewal project with a strong environmental focus. Considering that Mälarenergi put the waste-fired CHP plant Block 6 into operation as late as 2014, it is clear that major investments are being made in a short time to renew the production apparatus. The goal is to retire older facilities and have electricity and heat production entirely based on renewable and recycled fuels by 2020. It is worth noting that both Borås and Västerås have chosen to invest in electricity production in the form of CHP, which is not always the case when investing in new district heating production. FVB is proud to have gotten the opportunity to participate and contribute to the above projects.
At HUB 2018, the annual energy conference in Västerås, the discussion centered around how the industry is going to solve the electricity demand. Supply security and load balancing will be challenges in the future. There are many reasons for this. A phasing-out of plannable production is underway, both nuclear power and CHP. Increased congestion in the electrical grid is happening, particularly in growing metropolitan areas. Climate change increases the vulnerability of the electrical system. On top of this, many industries are increasing their electricity usage as electrification will help meet climate goals. A paradoxical takeaway from the energy conference was that the relevant government authorities expected the market to solve the problems. The market replied that they expected the government and politics to solve the problems. Speaking of politics, Sweden immediately needs a government that can make the necessary decisions, particularly in the energy area.
A key issue to solving the energy challenges of the future will be how we can store energy over a long period of time. Such solutions would eliminate many problems, particularly on the electrical side. Even within the area of district heating, long-term storage is something that is desirable. In today’s FVB newsletter, we can read about the innovative project in Hudiksvall, where renewable district heating will be stored in rock caverns. Many studies have been done in Sweden on storing hot water in rock caverns, but in most cases, they could not get a sufficient return on investment. In Hudiksvall, the rock cavern will not be used as an accumulator with the normal layering principles but will move water between two separate rock caverns via a heat exchanger. It will be very interesting to follow this project and see how it turns out.
In this FVB newsletter, you can also read about a thesis that has to do with power conservation in single-family homes. Thanks to a diligent student and support from FVB’s property division, the thesis won Swedvac’s prize for best thesis. Power conservation in properties is also a very important area for the future in terms of optimization and resource conservation connected to our energy system.
FVB has had positive experiences using Co-op students in our offices in North America. This is a little new in our Swedish operations, however. We have tried Co-op with good results in our Gävle office, and we are pleased to be able to contribute to the cooperation between the business community and colleges. The benefits for both the company and the student are many, and so far, the Co-op program has left us wanting more.
Resource supply is a known problem throughout the energy industry. A clear indication that a company is succeeding in its growth is when it has to procure larger premises. So, it is a positive thing that FVB has switched to new larger premises in several cities this year. It is always nice to welcome fresh and excited new employees to the company who want to contribute to a better world by working wonders in the energy sector. It is also wonderful to be able to recognize the faithful and talented employees in the company who spread joy and knowledge wherever they go.
After a record-hot summer, which made many people happy but posed a lot of problems for others, we are now approaching winter at a rapid pace. The questions are many. Will we have a mild winter or will it be a record-cold one? Will it be stormy or calm? What will happen to electricity prices? Will we get a government in place before spring has arrived? Whatever the case, FVB is ready to help its customers, with the goal of supplying technically, economically, and environmentally sustainable energy solutions!
CEO of FVB.