IEA Reviews Sweden’s Low-Carbon Successes and Future

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One of the world’s lowest-carbon economies belongs to Sweden, who are seeking to achieve a fossil-fuel-independent vehicle fleet by 2030 and no net greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050.

Bold golds in an era where bold is the only way we’re going to see real lasting change.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently reviewed Sweden’s energy policies and determined that the country must now identify viable pathways and technologies to meet these objectives at least cost and with minimum risk to energy security.

IEA Reviews Sweden's Energy Future
Storrun wind farm in Sweden
Image Source: Lars Falkdalen Lindahl

Among the key recommendations, the report calls for:

  • A comprehensive analysis ofthe robustness of different decarbonisation scenarios to 2050, to guide market participants and policy making and to achieve a shared vision on the future electricity mix and technological innovation;
  • An energy-efficiency approach across the wholeeconomy, which includes  active demand-side services, efficient networks, zero-energy buildings and efficient industry and heat sectors;
  • A smarter grid that leads to improved consumer choice through independent data management, net-metering and dynamic pricing. When implemented in a larger common Nordic retail market, this can control the costs of the transition;
  • Regional solutions such as a common Nordic retail market, regionally deployed renewables and joint infrastructure planning of smart grids, electric vehicles or CCS, for example. The IEA encourages Sweden to lead the way towards creating a clean transport sector across the Nordic region.
  • Certainty up to 2030 with respect to the electricity generation mix and the replacement of current nuclear capacity, particularly as Sweden increasingly uses electricity in heating and transport.

“Sweden is already a global leader in providing low-carbon energy to its people. For Sweden to decarbonise further, it must boost energy efficiency in the manufacturing, transport and buildings sectors; expand the share of renewables in the energy mix beyond 2020; and wean its vehicle fleet off of fossil fuels,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven as she presented the review. “Emission reductions in industry will not come forward without clean energy technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS).”

The report — entitled Energy Policies of IEA Countries – Sweden 2013 Review and which is available for purchase at the IEA Bookshop — commends Sweden for its leadership in energy research and development. Sweden is a world leader when it comes to CO2 emissions per GDP and CO2 emissions per capita, and they are also home to the world’s first Plantagon greenhouse for urban farming.

Sweden has also made strides with it’s renewable electricity certificate system which, according to the IEA, has been increasing renewable energy supply without increasing the cost to customers. The renewable electricity certificate system also includes Norway in a joint market situation which is benefiting both countries.

According to the report, Sweden’s electricity supply is almost completely bare of carbon, with a very low share of fossil fuels in its energy mix thanks to strong energy and CO2 taxation in areas not currently covered by the European Union carbon market.   Sweden’s CO2 is relegated to their transport and industry sectors.

Furthermore, Sweden will decommission and replace their existing nuclear reactors when they reach the end of their lifespans.

Such a push for renewable energy independence is vital in Sweden, a country with a very energy-intensive economy, due to a broad manufacturing base, which results in high electricity consumption per capita.

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

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