A report on the economic situation in the energy sector was brought before the energy commission yesterday. Declining profitability risks closing Swedish nuclear power, which represents 40% of the country’s energy, early, according to the industry. And industry organisation Swedenergy (Svensk energi) claims output tax makes up a quarter of all production costs.
Minister for Energy, Ibrahim Baylan (S), commented that all electricity production is struggling with low prices, and that taxes must be examined. Nuclear providers are facing major investment decisions, which must be taken before the middle of the year to meet tighter safety requirements after the Fukushima accident in Japan. Baylan has now promised the decision about output tax will be made by the middle of May.
State-owned Vattenfall has reported a record loss for 2015, the worst in the company’s history. With a loss of SKr 19.8 billion, it is almost double as much as the loss the previous year.
Vattenfall’s CEO, Magnus Hall, pointed out the company is still making reasonable profits in operations. It is mainly the writing down of assets and falling electricity prices that triggered the huge reported loss. The single largest write down was due to the closure of two of the four reactors at the Ringhals nuclear plant.
Magnus Hall warns that all the reactors, which supply a significant portion of Sweden’s electricity, could close if nuclear output tax is not removed, “and a decision is needed before the summer,” he says. He states that political action is needed to avoid Swedish nuclear power closing down early, and Vattenfall is unable to make necessary investments if the tax is not abolished.