Volume 3: Innovative Solutions for Energy Transitions: Part II

Global and Local Challenges and Needs for Research in Sustainable Energy Systems– Experiences From Sweden Ronald Wennersten, Qie Sun



Increasing global population and consumption are drivers for energy consumption. As the major part of primary energy sources are still fossil, the accumulated Green House Gases continues to raise in the atmosphere. Embedded in the strategies to achieve the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goasl are high urbanisation rates and high annual economic growth (7 %) in emerging economies. It seems more and more obvious that the transition to more energy- and resource-efficient cities will be gradual and take longer time than expected. It is also clear that transitions have to be anchored in a local context at the urban level where all key actors take part in the planning process. Urban systems are examples of very complex systems and the study of complex systems is about understanding indirect, sometimes unwanted effects. Sweden has very ambitious goals to reduce GHG emissions. However, the path towards the goals seems very winding. In 2018 the emissions increased even when using a production-based calculation. There are still uncertainties of the main goal in Sweden since two concepts are used in the debate. One is fossil fuel free energy mix and the other renewable energy mix. Both have a focus on minimizing GHG emissions but the fossil fuel free energy mix accepts nuclear energy as a part of the mix. One of the most difficult targets is to reduce GHG emissions in the transport sector. Here we can find clear examples of conflicting goals and short- and long-term targets. Biofuels can reduce the GHG emissions but will have negative effects of biodiversity and food production. Attempts to ban diesel cars will reduce the potentials for using biofuels in the traffic sector. This paper will analyse the efforts in Sweden for developing a more sustainable energy system and draw conclusions of barriers and generalisation to other countries and also to draw conclusions around research issues needed to be explored.

Keywords Fossil energy, Renewable energy, transition of energy system, Sweden’s energy mix

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