"Experience and knowledge say that we have to make a change”

After a few years as CEO of Göteborg Energi, Alf retired last autumn but remains committed to the key issues surrounding energy and sustainability.

From working in the control room at Forsmark nuclear power plant back in the 1980s, to working in safety, marketing, maintenance and futures in companies such as Vattenfall, Infratek and Göteborg Energi, Alf has been prominent in the industry and still takes a keen interest in new developments. As a board member of Gomero, Alf brings a unique skill set to the table particularly in relation to company strategy and the future of the sector.

“Just because we live in a sparsely populated country does not mean that we should shirk our responsibilities. We must always be looking to break new ground and do things differently. It is not enough to deal with one issue at a time. If we are to succeed in introducing new ways of generating and managing energy, there must be changes across the board. From expanding and cultivating renewable energy to modernizing infrastructure and being more efficient in the way we use our natural resources. In a country like Sweden, the issue of maintenance is particularly important. We have neither the time nor the means to send people out into a seven mile deep forest unless it is completely necessary. Resources must be used in a more sustainable way,” comments Alf Engqvist.

Maintenance must be an enabler, not a hinderance

Over the last ten years, maintenance work has evolved and been modernized. Technologies such as Smartphones, surveillance cameras and analysis tools have all contributed to streamlining and simplifying the work process.

“Most people agree that we are at the beginning of a major transformation. With connected devices, sensors, AI, and powerful data analysis, we will see changes that makes maintenance work more cost effective and sustainable. Effective maintenance needs to be an enabler, not a hinderance that requires large resources and comes with a degree of risk. This will become more important as the requirement for flexibility and operational reliability is only going to increase. Society is becoming more electricity dependent, and unfortunately electricity is not getting cheaper,” Alf continues.

The issue of sustainability has never been more important

Looking at the bigger picture the time for change in the energy sector is running out. If climate goals are to be achieved, a lot must happen in a relatively short period.

“If you read the latest IPPC report, you will understand that we have huge challenges ahead of us. The majority of climate scientists agree that the threat is real and is caused by humans. Therefore, everybody needs to challenge old ways of thinking. The energy sector is very traditional, and it is true that existing infrastructure cannot be replaced in a hurry. This means that we need to absorb and digest industry knowledge and combine it with technology so that we can have an impact both in the short and long term,” concludes Alf Engqvist.

Alf Engqvist
Board member at Gomero and former CEO at Göteborg Energi. Foto: Göteborg Energi.

“In the future, the need for connected devices will increase. Gomero’s customer base will undoubtedly expand and this will include, for example, data centers, battery factories and the steel industry. The energy sector will require new services and Gomero's experience and technical solutions will become increasingly valuable”, says Alf Engqvist.