Sweden is one of the leading IEA countries in the use of renewable energy and has a long tradition of ambitious and successful policies to improve energy efficiency. Compared to the other IEA countries, Sweden’s CO2 emissions per capita and per unit of GDP are low, partly owing to efficient and low-carbon space heating, and virtually carbon-free electricity generation. The country also remains a forerunner in electricity market liberalisation. Still, even if Sweden has continued to make progress in most areas of its energy policy since the IEA last conducted an in-depth review in 2004, there is room for improvement
As Sweden plans to further increase the use of renewable energy, it is crucial that these supplies are produced and used in the most sustainable manner for the environment and the economy as a whole. With regard to CO2 emissions, more can be done in all sectors, but as transport is the largest polluter and its emissions are increasing, it is the logical focus for Sweden’s efforts to reduce emissions further. This is a significant challenge.
Nuclear provides almost half of the electricity in Sweden, at a low cost and without CO2 emissions. But the future of nuclear power in the national power mix is still uncertain. To provide clear guidance to the electricity sector, Sweden will need to resolve the ambiguity about the future of nuclear power in the country.
This review analyses the energy challenges facing Sweden and provides critiques and recommendations for further policy improvements. It is intended to provide input to Swedish energy policy makers to help them identify a path towards a more sustainable energy future.