In windy Arctic, a new emerging power center

Wind power and hydropower is turning the county of Norrbotten into an energy major

While neighboring Norwegian and Russian regions put their faith in Arctic oil, the northern Swedish region of Norrbotten is becoming one of Europe’s bigger producers of wind energy.


When in full swing around year 2020, the Markbygden wind park will generate enough energy to cover up to eight percent of the total Swedish demands. The 450 square kilometer area outside Piteå in northern Sweden will be turned into a major regional center for power generation. A total of 1101 windmills, some of them up to 200 meters high, will produce about 12 TWh. The companies Svevind and Enercom are investing up to 55 bilion SEK (€6,2 billion) in the project.

The Markbygden project is unique in not only in the Arctic, but in all of Europe.

Data collected by BarentsObserver show that wind energy up to now has constituted only a slight share of the total regional power generation. In the whole Barents Region, only about 2,43 TWh was produced in 2012. Among the biggest wind power producing regions has the last years been Finnmark in Norway, where 216 GWh was produced in 2012. Finnmark has two wind power parks, one in Havøysund and another in Kjøllefjord, which together have a total capacity of about 80 MW. Another seven projects are under planning in the region, and one under construction. On the Finnish side, a total of 307 GWh was produced in 2012, most of it in the Lapland province.

In Swedish Norrbotten, the Markbygden windmills are quickly taking the region to the top of the regional wind power rankings. In 2013 a total of 36 windmills were planned erected and the numbers will grow rapidly through 2014.

With the windmills in place, Norrbotten will bolster its position as one of Europe’s biggest producer of green energy. From before, the region is a major producer of hydro power. In 2011, regional hydro power facilities produced a total of almost 15 TWh, which is the most of all the 13 terriorial entities in the Barents Region. With the wind and hydropower combined, Norrbotten will in 2020 produce up to 30 TWh of green power.