The Swedish Member Committee of the World Energy Council consists of around 40 companies or organisations with interest in the energy field. There are many company members who provide electricity, gas, oil and heat to energy end consumers as well as company members who design and manufacture equipment related to energy conversion. Some of the members are associations representing many manufacturing or energy companies, and some governmental and academia functions are represented. All the members have specific interest in energy policy and technology development from a European and global perspective and find membership in the World Energy Council to be valuable.
Energy in Sweden
Comparing 2019 and 2020 results, Sweden’s energy leaders continue to focus on digitalisation and innovation issues Critical Uncertainties, as they reflect areas of ongoing change. Action Priorities revolve around building a clean energy mix while planning for contingencies and potential changes in regional trade relations.
Innovative Transport continues to be perceived as a Critical Uncertainty as decarbonisation efforts focus around this sector. Sweden is currently offering tax incentives to encourage the use of biofuels and for low emission cars in the transport sector, which accounts for roughly half of energy-related CO2 emissions in the country. Sweden has one of the highest shares of EVs in new car sales globally. It has also introduced the world’s biggest pilot projects including electrified roads for commercial traffic, among other related innovations. At the same time there is a challenge to find common solutions to extensive transport volumes between nations.
IoT/Blockchain is perceived with higher uncertainty. The Swedish power company, Vattenfall, introduced a pilot project in 2016 to test potential applications of blockchain and to build a peer-to-peer trading system in the wholesale energy market using the technology. There is still uncertainty as to whether this technology will disrupt the current business model.
Decentralised Systems become a Critical Uncertainty in this year’s survey. The Swedish government is looking into ways to facilitate the operations of small-scale electricity producers and stimulate distributed generation. There is internal political discussion under way to assess the benefit of incentives such as white certificates for energy efficiency. Electricity storage has been exempt from taxation and special incentives have been introduced for solar cells. Uncertainties regard how the decentralised system will affect the whole electricity market.
Renewable Energies remain an Action Priority, as Sweden progresses towards its zero-carbon target by 2045. The electricity sector has been decarbonised mainly through the deployment of hydro and nuclear power. Wind power capacity has been expanding rapidly with production rising from 0.5TWh to 17.5TWh between 2000 and 2017. Further expansion is planned, and offshore wind is also being considered. Sweden is exploring the possible use of large-scale hydrogen in the steel industry Biofuels are also an Action Priority as Sweden uses bioenergy for district heating, taking advantage of the country’s naturally available resources.
Biofuels have been introduced through tax exemptions. Since 1 July 2018, the share of biofuels in gasoline and diesel is determined by the emission reduction obligation scheme. The government is also promoting the use of biofuels in aviation. Demand for biofuels in the transport sector is expected to rise.
EU Cohesion continues to be seen as an Action Priority. The economies of the UK and Sweden have been closely interlinked through flourishing trade and R&D relations with shared visions of EU trade and climate policies. As a small export-dependent country, free trade is essential for Sweden. EU views on the use of biomass and waste-to-energy are a tough challenge for the country. These must be handled in EU negotiations as these resources are essential for the Swedish energy system.
The issue of climate change is dominating the Swedish public debate and it has been for a long time. Sweden has adopted sectoral ambitious targets to reduce the overall Swedish carbon footprint. We can see that ambition in the Swedish answers given on this year’s Issues Monitor Survey.
At the same time, there is frustration that the success of the global climate work is too limited. The world has taken positive steps in tackling climate change, but more must be done to keep the momentum and hopefully increase it. We need a stronger global commitment to follow the Paris Agreement and need countries to take actions.