Sweden is a global leader in building a low-carbon economy, with the lowest share of fossil fuels in its primary energy supply among all IEA member countries, and the second-lowest carbon-intensive economy.
Sweden has been successful in its energy transformation through
market-based policies that focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy,
notably CO2 taxation, which has helped drive decarbonisation across
Sweden’s energy policy is also well-integrated with its climate
objectives, according to the latest review of the country’s energy policies
conducted by the International Energy Agency. In the 2016 Energy Agreement and
the Climate Framework from 2017, Sweden set ambitious targets, including the
long-term goal of zero net emissions by 2045. But additional action is needed
to achieve these results, as the country’s total carbon emissions have been
flat since 2013.
“Sweden has shown that ambitious energy transition policies can
accompany strong economic growth” said Paul Simons, the IEA’s Deputy Executive
Director. “With the Energy Agreement now in place, the time has come to
implement a clear roadmap towards the long term target of carbon neutrality.”
The report pays special attention to transport-related emissions.
This sector accounts for less than a quarter of Sweden’s final energy
consumption, but over half of its energy-related CO2 emissions. Sweden has
set a target to reduce transport emissions by 70% between 2010 and 2030.
The government has also introduced several new policies including
a bonus/penalty system to support new low‑emission vehicles and measures to
increase the use of biofuels. However, Sweden is not yet on a trajectory
towards its 2030 target, and the IEA recommends that the government closely
monitors developments, and strengthens policy measures as needed.
The electricity system is another important element in Sweden’s
energy transition. Sweden has largely decarbonised its electricity generation
through investments in nuclear power, hydropower, and most recently, other
renewables. This is an important achievement that needs to be sustained. Sweden
has not taken a formal position against the construction of new nuclear plants
and most existing nuclear power plants are expected to run for the next several
decades before being phased out. That said, there is little interest to invest
in new reactors in the current market. Meanwhile, Sweden has set an
ambitious target of achieving 100% renewable electricity generation by 2040.
The IEA recommends the government carefully assess how to reach that target and
what the implications will be for grid stability and security of supply.
One key factor for maintaining a secure electricity supply is the
regional power market. Sweden is well‑connected with its Nordic and Baltic
neighbours and has become a large net exporter of electricity. As the share of
wind power continues to increase, supported by green electricity certificates,
regional trade becomes even more important.
“The Nordic power market is an excellent example of how countries
can benefit from closer collaboration,” said Mr Simons. “We recommend further
market integration to support the continued energy transition in the