Interview: Matilda Afzelius, CEO Nordics at RES
by RES | Jun 01, 2021 | Reading time: 3 min
Matilda started her career in the legal profession, working as a lawyer specialising in environmental law after studying law and environmental science at university. She first moved into renewables in 2008 when she joined a wind development company and has been working with RES since 2012, when she joined as Development Manager. “I realised I’d rather build things (wind farms) than write and fight about them.”
RES first established a presence in the Nordics in 2002. “Initially known as Nordisk Vindkraft, a leading wind farm developer in Sweden and Norway, we expanded our service offering to include asset management in 2009, following the completion of Havsnäs Wind Farm which we developed and constructed. We now provide a full scope of services for clients including construction and asset management, where we can leverage our experience to add value for our clients.”
Matilda is particularly proud of RES’ 372MW Björnberget project. “The project is not only one of the largest onshore wind farms in Sweden, but the largest to start construction in Europe this year. We developed the project and are now managing the construction. Our client, Prime Capital AG, recently won Renewables Investor of the Year and Renewables Deal of the Year (Global and Europe) at the 12th annual global Infrastructure Investor Awards. The wind farm will produce almost 1% of Sweden’s total electricity production so will significantly contribute to a better environment.”
The Bjornberget Wind Farm is expected to reach commercial operation at the beginning of 2023. When constructed it will produce the equivalent consumption of c.300,000 European households and help avoid over 600,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. RES will provide the asset management for the project once complete.
“We are also are constructing a wind farm in Alingsås for Mirova. Alingsås is a mid-sized town close to Gothenburg, where we have our Nordic head office. The 13 wind turbines can produce all the power the city of Alingsås needs on an annual basis. That really shows that wind is now making a difference and is a great contributor to the energy system.
“It’s an exciting time for renewable energy globally. We are continuing to develop quality projects in the Nordics and are all proud that we are supporting Sweden’s journey towards 100% renewables. In Scandinavia we foresee an interesting transition where the traditional industry (mining and steel etc.) is going 100% renewable and that really creates demand for more renewable production, so we have only really started this journey. We foresee both solar and hydrogen playing a greater role going forward.
“Through both expansion and in more challenging times, I am lucky to be supported by an excellent and talented team. With that comes responsibility, I want to help each of them reach their full potential which is both beneficial to them as individuals and to the company. And enjoy the ride on our way to contribute to a better world.”
When asked about what people might be surprised to know about her, Matilda says, “I’m a keen outdoors person and enjoy nothing more than running through Sweden’s forest with friends from my exercise group. We normally head out at 6am in the morning. In the summer I strive to finish the training with a short swim, and in the winter I’m often scrapping the snow off my car it’s so cold. Starting the day in the quiet forest with friends is really energising and helps me clear my thoughts ready for the day ahead. Another upside being that I can indulge in good food, another interest of mine.”
The team in Sweden supported Greta Thunberg’s first visit to a wind farm when she visited as part of a documentary being filmed by the BBC.