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.
Birgitta Resvik is a member of the WEC's Communications & Outreach Standing Committee. She has recently retired from Fortum's as Head of Public Affairs Sweden within Corporate Relations and Sustainability. She came from the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise where she worked as the Director for Energy and Climate Policies between 2004-2010. In this position she worked closely with a number of different industries including transport, construction, manufacturing, and the energy sector at both national and international level. Ms Resvik has been responsible for assessing the impact of policy instruments and regulatory framework on Swedish industry, and has presented business views to the government, politicians and other stakeholders. Ms Resvik has a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. Prior to her service at Swedish Enterprise, Ms Resvik worked as a Director of Energy and Climate at the Association of Swedish Chemical Industries between 2000–2004. Prior to this, she worked at the same association in the capacity of Communications Director between 1995 and 2000. Birgitta will still be engaged in WEC Sweden for the coming year. She will also temporarily take over as secretary for WEC Sweden, as Bosse Andersson unfortunately has had to step down.
Energy in Sweden
The most important development in Sweden’s energy policy in recent years is that five political parties have supported a broad energy policy settlement, laying the long-term targets for the country’s energy supply. One important issue is the vision of a 100% renewable energy system by the year 2040. There is a growing discussion about the electricity market and security of supply. This concerns both the power grid capacity and the question of generation capacity when demand is highest. In a report released during the summer 2018, the Swedish grid operator has shown that during cold winter days, the country becomes dependent on imports to cope with the demand of electricity due to weak winds.
The transport sector’s development has a high political focus. A bonus malus system has been introduced to ensure that cars with good climate performance receive a maximum reduction of approximately €6,000 at the time of purchase, while cars with higher emissions will pay an increased car tax. In addition, a bonus malus system has a requirement for fast incorporation of biofuels into gasoline and diesel. By the year 2030, the goal is to achieve a share of 50% of biofuel.
Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be of great importance to society. It is difficult to predict how the impact of these issues will affect the energy sector, but these issues are expected to play a very big role in the future.
Sweden’s energy leaders see Data AI, Digitalisation and Cyber Threats as a cohesive block that will affect the whole society, how we live and how business and industry in the future will be organised. This is a fast-moving area, which will also affect both energy supply and the energy market.
We can see a risky future, possibilities and great opportunities for controlling both energy usage and industrial processes. Here, Sweden hopes to develop important tools/services for a smarter energy use.
Energy storage and increasing shares of decentralised electricity generation are two issues that are closely linked. There is the necessity of a successful development of storage systems to secure future electricity supply against weather challenges.
Storage solutions will be needed to handle short-term variations in demand and supply of electricity. A more challenging issue is to be able to store energy over seasons in order to meet seasonal demand variations. “Power-to-X” – the use of electricity to produce a gas that can be stored and used when needed – appears as an interesting solution.
The international regulations on Climate change are of the utmost importance in terms of content, of how it is followed up and of how it is being managed by the countries around the world. Necessary measures to reduce emissions and climate impact can be costly. Countries that take early action must be able to rely on a worldwide compliance with the agreement’s commitments. Otherwise, competitiveness can be jeopardized for those countries that are at the forefront of climate work.
The Paris agreement and future climate agreements are important only if they are followed by action. We must go in a direction where all countries are attracted and committed to be at forefront of activities to handle the climate threat.
Increasing investment to increase the share of renewable energies and climate-friendly fuels is a central part of a successful future. If that development is to come, it must be economically advantageous to invest in such a development as compared to investing in the “old” fossil solutions. Such development will require policy decisions on a framework of markets, taxes and other instruments that create the right conditions so that the renewable path will be profitable for investors.
Market Design is of utmost importance for development. It is paramount a well-functioning market be the place for investors to rely upon when it is time to make decisions on investments in new capacity. The fast and extensive Swedish wind power expansion over the last five to ten years has been achieved with boosted competitiveness for wind power through the ability to obtain electrical certificates. Now it’s time to return to a market without a support system. We can see a coming discussion on market design concerning capacity elements on the market to handle peek-load situations.
Innovations for the transport sector are a very important part in reaching the target of emission from heavy duty vehicles. We see that electricity solutions are growing rapidly for passenger cars, but it still remains unclear what are the solutions for heavy duty vehicles. Pilot projects are ongoing, there is little clarity around EU’s policy the development for heavy transport. In general, we see a great need for investments in electricity infrastructure to cope with passenger cars’ electrification and we believe that electricity will play an important role even for heavy duty vehicles. With extensive transport volumes between nations it is important to find common solutions.
To meet the climate change challenge, it is important to adopt a broad approach where no possibilities are ignored. Therefore, a link from CCS to heavy industrial production will be necessary. The cement industry, steel manufacturing, vehicle manufacturing, among others, are areas where CCS solutions should be developed. We need the ambition to find areas where we can achieve “negative emissions” with CCS technology.
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.