Sweden showing steely determination towards a fossil-free future
Stockholm, Sweden - Photo credit, Somov73 & Free Images - Pixabay
Welcome to the twenty first edition of my weekly blog where I take a closer look at the policies adopted by individual countries in their efforts to meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement. Particular attention is paid to the role that Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage (CCUS) research and technologies are playing in the drive to meet these requirements.
Having examined the role of carbonates in reducing CO2 emissions last week, I’m returning to my country-by-country analysis and this week I’m focusing on Sweden.
Sweden ranks third highest under Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index (EPI) and has consistently being a top 10 ranking country in this index since its inception in January 2006.
Paris Agreement Targets
As part of Sweden’s commitment to the Paris Agreement, the country has pledged to completely phase out Co2 emissions by 2045. This is a bold and ambituous target which will be supported by reducing emissions from domestic transport by 70% over the next 13 years. Volvo, the Swedish car manufacturer are playing their part in supporting this target. Earlier this month they announced that from 2019 onwards all new cars released to the market will be electric or hybrid models. Five cars will be fully powered by electric electric engines and the rest of their car range will be partially battery powered.
For Sweden to achieve its 2045 target it also expects that domestic emissions will be reduced by 85% over this time period with the residual target achieved through the planting of trees and investment in foreign green initiatives.
In a ‘EU Climate Leaderboard’ published earlier this year, Sweden was ranked as highest of all EU countries on the effort sharing regulation, ‘Europe’s largest climate tool, making it the most compatible EU nation with the Paris Agreement.
According to 2016 energy statistics for Sweden published by the Swedish Energy Agency, Nuclear, Biomass and Hydropower are the source supplier for just over two-thirds of Swedish electricity generation with 33%, 23% and 12% of the overall figure respectively. Coal, crude oil/ petroleum products and natural gas still accounted for about 30% of the remainder.
Consistent with its Paris Agreement targets, Sweden has a national energy strategy to be fossil free by 2045. Significant progress has been made in that regard since 1970, when 76% of electricity generation was sourced from fossil fuels.
Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS)
The Karlshamn Field Pilot project in the South of Sweden is the first of its kind in Europe to use cooled ammonia as a solvent in the capture of CO2 from flue gas. The project is led by Alstom Power at E.ON’s Karlshamn Power Plant. Using this approach, the plant has reported a CO2 capture efficiency rate of 90%. The plant can capture up to 30 tonnes of CO2 per day.
The Stepwise pilot project of Sorption Enhanced Water Gas Shift reaction (SEWGS) technology is under construction at Swerea Mefos facilities in Luleå in Northeastern Sweden in conjunction with Energy Centre Netherlands. It can capture 14 tonnes of CO2 per day from the nearby SSAB steel plant.
The Swedish Energy Agency is investing in a CO2-free steel industry. Last February the agency provided SEK54m in research funding over a four-year period to SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall.The three companies have sensibly agreed to form a corporate joint venture to drive this research and will contribute a further SEK45m. This funding will be used to find ways to replace the use of coal with hydrogen in the Swedish Steel industry.
Sweden has ambitious plans to be a fossil free economy by 2045. Independent assessment of Sweden’s environmental performance by both Yale’s EPI and the EU Climate Leaderboard points towards global leadership is this regard. The Swedish government is investing in a CO2-free steel industry and Volvo are showing commitment through its product range.
Whether Sweden’s reaches its Paris Agreement goals or not, it is almost certain that the country will continue to be a climate change leader.
Next week’s blog will profile Denmark and their efforts to meet their CO2 emissions reduction targets.