The largest country in Northern Europe, Sweden, is famous for many things, from the beautiful sceneries, historical sites, food, and liberal culture. Remarkably is the environmental consciousness that runs through most of its citizens and residents. The clean streets and green sites say a lot about how well the Swedish know the value of natural resources, and this is evident in their adoption of renewable energy on a large scale.
Renewable energy in Sweden has developed over time, majorly from hydropower and bioenergy. This growth can be linked to the availability of moving water and biomass from its 63% forest cover. The topography also encourages the use of hydropower. In addition, there are 3600 wind turbines scattered all around Sweden capable of powering 30,000 homes. Wind power constitutes 17% of the renewable energy used in Sweden.
As of 2019, the supply of power in Sweden was primarily from hydropower plants in the northern region of Sweden and nuclear power plants in the southern. Southern Sweden is busier and requires more power than their nuclear power plants can provide, so the northern region generates more power for the south.
The Growth of Renewable Energy in Sweden.
Sweden has been making significant efforts to invest in renewable energy and utilize it for day-to-day activities. Currently, up to 54.6% of the energy used in Sweden is from renewable energy sources. In 2016, the world’s first electrified road was opened in Sweden, they also use waste, biomass, solar power, wind power, and hydropower more than most countries.
Sweden was the first country to meet its renewable energy targets set by the European Union (EU) for 2020. This was achieved eight years ahead of time due to the continuous input to renewable energy and efforts to sustain it. The government of Sweden seeks to make the country climate neutral by 2045 and hopes to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2040. While hydropower (45%) and nuclear power plants (30%) take the lead (more than 75%) in the generation of renewable energy-based power, wind turbines come in third, before bioenergy and solar power.
Bioenergy sources have a significant growth in Sweden. They sometimes run out of biowaste and have to import to meet their needs. Power generated from biowaste is usually used for heating, which is a very significant need in Sweden. Up to 93% of residential and 83% of commercial buildings get their heat generated from biofuel and waste through the district heating sector.
Who/What is driving the growth of renewable energy in Sweden? Many factors are associated with the demand for power by industries, supportive policies, and the quick adoption of renewable energy technologies. The industrial sector of Sweden is a large one, needing a lot of power supply continuously. With the availability and development of renewable energy, the Swedish government can do a lot to meet the targets ahead.
Policies Aiding The Growth Of Renewable Energy In Sweden
The high carbon taxes and cheap energy prices are helping the growth of renewable energy in Sweden. However, climate change has been a great concern as many industries in Sweden are capable of carbon emissions. The carbon tax has been an excellent way to address the issues of emissions in Sweden and give incentives and opportunities for renewable energy alternatives. It is levied on all forms of fossil fuel relative to their carbon content.
Also, the Swedish Energy Agency, which has existed since 1998, was recently commissioned to find strategies to include more solar power in the mix to make the 100% renewable energy target for 2040. Furthermore, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Swedish Energy Agency have been developing national strategies to build sustainable wind power.
Ongoing Renewable Energy Projects in Sweden
Renewable projects continue to spring up in Sweden. An example is a partnership between Uniper Engineering and Fortum eNext in three projects relating to Nordic hydro and physical trading optimization, hydrogen, and wind and solar development. They plan to complete it in 2025 and have gone past planning the coming together to offer services to utilities and energy-intensive companies.
Vattenfall, a government-owned company, also announced in 2019 to upgrade the hydropower plants and increase their capacity to 600 megawatts by 2023. It is very significant to Sweden’s goals for renewable energy, and the output is almost equivalent to that of 100 wind turbines. Currently, up to 20 power plants have been upgraded, and 450MW more have been generated already.
More so, in Ludivika city, 48 apartments have been linked as prosumers forming an energy community. Each has solar photovoltaics, thermal energy storage devices, and heat pumps to constantly use and produce renewable energy. In addition, despite being more of a collection of 1970 houses, they have smart meters which function effectively for an efficient power supply.
Experts’ Predictions on Renewable Energy in Sweden
With the impact of COVID-19 in 2020 and the trends of events, forecasts predict a CAGR of 2% in the Swedish renewable energy market by 2025. This prediction is due to policies and initiatives that are in support of renewable energy. Also, hydropower is likely to dominate the market as more upgrades are being planned and organized. However, experts also feel that the maintenance of renewable energy systems would limit the market.
There may have been concerns on how Sweden would handle the fluctuations in power from renewable energy, but these concerns are now being addressed. Sweden is known for its fast adaptation to technologies, and this has helped them grow. So far, the risks associated with diving into new technologies have been properly managed and implemented in the proper management of renewable energy systems.