Sweco is a leading consultancy in engineering, architecture, and all things environmental-related. Could you give examples of projects you are working on that are particularly shaping the landscape?
Sweco offers professional services in architecture, engineering and environmental aspects. Our business is divided into Buildings and Urban Areas; Water, Energy, and Industry; and Transport Infrastructure. We are involved in over 100,000 projects every year, evenly distributed across our three segments. Considering all dimensions of sustainability, the company is focused on ensuring that we have the right knowledge, are contributing to the right projects, and that we can combine our competence and solutions at the right times to solve our clients demands.
Looking at our project portfolio, we can see huge interest in projects that really shape the future. Sweco is contributing to two extremely interesting projects in Sweden with the aim of producing green steel for the first time ever; one for H2 Green Steel (H2GS), and one for Hybrit, a collaborative initiative between SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall. Another area receiving significant attention is energy storage. We worked with Northvolt in the design of their first battery manufacturing facility in the north of Sweden, and we have recently started to design their second battery manufacturing facility in Kvarnsveden in Sweden, where we are assisting Northvolt in planning the conversion of a paper mill into a giga factory for sustainable battery production. In efforts to create solutions for battery storage, Sweco has also partnered with Keliber on a large-scale battery industry project in Finland, developing chemicals for batteries.
Over the past year we have also taken market leadership and are investing in rail and light-rail, as the transformation into renewable or climate neutral transportation will rely on transporting more goods and traveling more on rail.
Across industries, markets, and geographies, where do you see particular appetite for engaging with the green transition?
The energy sector is currently on top of the game, partly due the EU Green Deal and the Paris agreement putting pressure on industry to act. The conflict in Ukraine has also put focus on the fact that we need to decrease our dependence on oil and gas, encouraging a path towards more renewable sources for energy.
All our clients have sustainability with ESG, circularity and the green transition on their agendas. They are taking more responsibility in moving towards a sustainable future and are considering carbon cost calculation in parallel with cost and income calculation.
The EU Green Deal has emphasized, among other things, the need for renewable hydrogen and more competencies in this area.
Sweco is working on some interesting projects with this regard and has many experts that work across borders to come up with solutions and ensure that we can deliver on this hydrogen demand. We are working with VoltH2 to design two green hydrogen plants in Vlissingen and Terneuzen in the Netherlands, and we have also signed an agreement with the finish company P2X Solutions for the front-end engineering design of their 20-megawatt green hydrogen plant.
We have heard multiple complaints from Swedish companies in relation to permit times - is this a problem Sweco experiences as well?
Sweco applies for approximately 400 permits per year in Sweden and we have ample experience and experts in this field. We brought forward a report to the government, emphasizing what is needed for a more efficient permitting process.We need to work together on creating a more efficient process and everyone, including the government, supports this effort and wants to ensure that hindrances are eliminated.
What exciting things lie ahead for Sweco in the coming five years?
In terms of climate, biodiversity and the shortage of energy, the later which drives inflation, the future will hold some challenges for sure, but it also means opportunities for Sweco. Our role is to ensure that we continue to have the right competencies in the right areas to provide the whole of Europe with the right solutions. Energy will be a big focus area obviously.
Sweco was selected as adviser for two of the world’s first energy islands in Denmark, and over the next nine years we will assist the Danish Energy Agency with technical advice on developing infrastructure to harvest the country’s unique offshore wind resources in the best way. Energy will be generated through wind farms, collected in a green power plant, and distributed to Denmark or other countries. The agreement is valued at $500 million SEK with a cap of $830 million SEK. We will provide knowledge into these projects from 11 different professions and approximately 200 Sweco colleagues from six different countries.
What are the solutions and challenges to meeting the 2050 targets?
I have huge trust in humanity and believe we are capable of shifting rapidly and finding solutions to challenges. To reach the 2050 targets will take great courage and collaboration, but I am optimistic about the way forward.
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