Monday, November 7, 2016

Sweden on track to produce all its energy from renewable resources by 2040

Anne Nilsson, Director General of the Swedish Energy Markets Inspectorate claimed that Sweden was on track to produce all its energy from renewable resources by 2040.

At present, production from renewable sources such as wind and hydro accounted for 57 percent of Sweden's production of 159 terawatt-hours (TWh). Much of the rest comes from nuclear power stations. In 2013 alone, renewable energy investment in Sweden was estimated at more than US $1 billion.
More than 35 percent of Swedish power production comes from ten nuclear reactors in three power stations. Although the government cut taxes on nuclear power generators, it is not expected to build any new reactors. Four of the ten reactors are being phased out. Sweden has no plans to provide further subsidies for nuclear power. Nilsson said:"Nuclear is quite an expensive energy source due to safety regulations and funding for long-term nuclear waste management among other things. Renewables, meaning large-scale wind in Sweden, on the other hand, are cheaper and cheaper to commission and to run. This together with low wholesale prices will make it less likely that new nuclear power plants will replace the remaining ones when they are phased out due to old age."
Nilsson noted that Sweden was not densely populated and had many good locations for large scale production of power by wind. In 2010 wind power accounted for only 2.4 percent of power production in Sweden but by 2012 it was five percent. Now it has doubled again to 10 percent. By 2030 Sweden hopes to produce 18 TWh of electricity from renewable sources. Due to environmental concerns there are no plans at present for new hydro power plants. Solar power up to now has been minimal but has been growing quickly recently with 2014 production doubling to about 79 MW. There is also one station that produces electricity from wave power.
One way in which Sweden has supported renewable energy production is by a "green energy certificate" to retail power suppliers. The plan currently is to support 25 TWh of electricity generation through renewables by 2020. Sweden was working to a target of a 50 percent share in production by renewables by 202 but had already surpassed that target by 2014. In a report published in 2011 by the World Energy Council, entitled "Policies for the Future" the best performers were Switzerland, Sweden and France.
Sweden is also cutting down on its use of fossil fuels. It aims for a fossil fuel free vehicle fleet by 2030. In 2013 the bus fleets in more than a dozen cities ran on biomethane, 60 percent of which is produced in local plants. Gothenberg Energy has a 20 MW facility that gasifies forest residues ultimately producing biomethane.

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