July 5, 2018 / 2:50 PM / 4 months ago

Vattenfall to invest $2.3 bln in grid over the next five years

OSLO, July 5 (Reuters) - Swedish state-owned utility Vattenfall plans to invest 20 billion crowns ($2.3 billion) over the next five years to renew and expand its electricity grid, the company said in a report on Thursday.

Vattenfall, primarily a power producer, is also one of Sweden’s largest grid firms, operating large portions of the country’s regional and local lines, delivering electricity to almost 900,000 customers.

A lot of the firm’s grid is currently old or lacks capacity in several areas, being insufficient for the country’s increasing electricity needs and not upgrading it would risk outages and threaten security of supply.

“We have too many outages and we need to reduce them for our customers. We will spend this money to modernise the grid and enable increased electrification,” Vattenfall’s distribution market director Eva Vitell told Reuters.

The investments will be undertaken by Vattenfall’s fully owned unit Vattenfall Eldistribution and the funds will be provided by the parent company, said Vitell. In 2018, the group has planned investments of about 4 billion crowns ($457 million).

Ageing grid and its renewal is a major issue for a big part of the Swedish power system, with the oldest lines having being installed as long as 70 years ago.

The country’s transmission system operator Svenska Kraftnat said last month it was planning to replace about 400 kms (250 miles) of grid in Sweden’s southwest in the next decade, which could cause disruptions in cross-border flows. ($1 = 8.7513 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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