On Tuesday, Sweden’s enterprise minister, Maud Olofsson, announced in an editorial in Dagens Nyheter that his country would build 2,000 new wind turbines in 10 years for a total added capacity of 10 TWh by 2020. Sweden currently has the largest percentage (about 20%) of renewable energy in Europe and has a goal of supplying at least 50% of its energy from renewables by 2020.

The editorial  [Ed. This page can be translated with Google Translate.] notes that during this extreme winter, many Swedish nuclear reactors have been offline, which has raised electricity costs. Though reliability was secure, Olofsson said, the government has determined that the country is overly reliant upon hydro and nuclear power.

The way to achieve the goal of 50% renewables in 10 years, Olofsson wrote, is an “electricity certificate system”—“a market-based technology-neutral system. The driving force is the cheapest production [facilities] are built first, which keep the cost for companies and electricity consumers [low].”

Sweden has some of the highest electricity prices in the European Union. The average residential price of electricity (as of July 2009), as reported by Europe’s Energy Portal, is €0.1832/kWh (25 cents/kWh). The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that the average residential electricity rate in the U.S. is 11.61 cents/kWh for 2009 year to date.

He noted that a strong transmission system is also needed and that the nation has invested 2.3 billion kronor (US$0.32 billion) this year in developing the national grid. That represents a fourfold increase over investments made in the previous two decades.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, POWERnews