Sweden is on track to be the first nation in the world to achieve net zero emissions and they are well on their way to getting all of their power from renewable sources. The home of iconic activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg is not settling for carbon neutrality they want to be carbon negative.
Sweden is one of the first nation’s to pledge to go fossil fuel free and they have passed legally binding legislation that mandates carbon neutrality by 2045. The vote passed in the Swedish parliament by an overwhelming margin of 213 votes (254 for and 41 against). Sweden’s Climate Act is part of Sweden’s climate policy
framework and includes long-term goals that are overseen by a climate
policy council. Sweden’s ultimate emissions goal is to be a net carbon sink.
Despite spirited opposition from Swedish conservatives, 58 percent Swiss citizens voted in support of renewable energy in a 2017 national referendum. The same plebiscite saw Swiss voters call for an end to nuclear power.
The country’s renewable energy capacity target is 4,400 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of renewable energy (excluding hydropower) by 2020, and 11,400 GWh by 2035. The plan also intends to increase hydropower capacity generation to 37,400 GWh by 2035.
Swedes also voted in support of energy efficiency. As part of the Swedish Energy Strategy 2050 the country is working towards reducing Switzerland’s per capita energy consumption by 16 percent by 2020, and by 43 percent by 2035. Per capita electricity consumption will be reduced 3 percent by 2020 and 13 percent in 2035.
The Nordic nation is setting their sites on being 50 percent more energy efficient by 2030, and deriving 100 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2040.
Swedes are currently getting 54 percent of the energy they used from renewable sources. This is in part attributable to the government’s energy policies including things like green certification for electricity retailers. To qualify these retailers have to get at least a standard minimum proportion of their electricity from wind, solar, geothermal,wave power, biofuels or small-scale hydroelectric plants.
About 11 percent of the nation’s electricity is derived from wind power. According to a governmnet website, between 2000 and 2017, Swedish wind production increased from 0.5 to 17.5 TWh and comprises about 3,600 wind turbines.
Solar power has also started to grow thanks to Swedish Energy Agency investments in research and support for private, public and commercial actors.
Swedish buildings are mandated by law to show how much energy they consume. Sweden is also building passive houses and high-rises that are heated only by the body heat of the occupants and electrical appliances.
The country has even developed a system to harvest the body heat from commuters in Stockholm’s central station.