The world looks forward to renewable energy as a solution to mitigate effects of climate change. Leading multilateral organisations like United Nations, World Bank, and more have emphasised on adoption of renewable energy to fulfill countries’ energy requirements and reduce the carbon footprint, greenhouse gas emissions and intensity of climate change effects. Sweden is one country that has taken a lead in generating renewable energy by adopting effective green policies
Climate change is no longer an environmental threat in future, it is impacting the environment today. Every country is now pushing up their efforts to implement eco-friendly and sustainable practices in their functioning to control their emissions. And one of such good practices is the adoption of renewable energy. Renewable energy solutions have proven its significance in mitigating climate change. Due to heavy dependence on fossil fuels in industries, greenhouse emissions have increased drastically and this has been one of the major reasons behind climate change. Therefore, adoption of renewable energy can turn out as a supportive step towards Paris Agreement and also towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In the renewable energy segment, Sweden is a leading player. In 1990, the country had 33 per cent of power share of the total power consumption from renewable sources. Whereas, in 2016 the same went ahead with 54 per cent share of renewable energy. Sweden worked to develop renewable energy to the extent that in 2012 the country achieved its 50 per cent renewable energy goal which was set for the year 2020. And, now it has set a target to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy production by 2040.
Sweden’s effective policy framework on energy consumption has structured the functioning of the nation in a sustainable and environment-friendlier manner. The Government of Sweden has been taking solid steps to promote green energy. And, one such example is providing green electricity certification. To qualify for the green electricity certification, the electricity must be sourced from wind, solar, geo-thermal or wave power, biofuels, or small scale hydroelectric plants. Power companies and electricity retailers are required to buy a proportion of green electricity as a part of their normal supply, whereas, the power producers will receive certification for the renewable electricity they generate.
Sweden has also fine-tuned its energy sector in an efficient manner. According to International Energy Agency (IEA), an average American releases four times as much carbon dioxide per year into the atmosphere as the average Swede. The reason behind low levels of emissions in Sweden is 80 per cent of the power generation in the country is from nuclear and hydropower sources. Presently, Sweden has three nuclear power plants feeding a significant amount of power to the nation with its eight nuclear reactors that are operational for commercial use. Wind as a source contributes around 11 per cent of the energy and thermal power plants, most of which are powered by biofuels, accounts for nine per cent of the power.
The European country also boasts of being a world leader in generating energy from waste. Around 49 per cent of household waste is recycled and almost 50 per cent of the waste is incinerated in the waste to energy plants for generating power.
Norway and Sweden, in 2012, came together in a joint agreement to increase the production of renewable energy by 28.4 terawatt hours by 2020. Markus Selin, analyst at the Swedish Energy Agency, told the World Economic Forum, “After the decision on the increase in ambition was reached, a lot of investment decisions have been taken and many wind turbines are set to be completed in the upcoming years”.
The European country stands out as an example to many developing and even developed countries in the renewable energy segment. And, steps taken by Sweden to counter the effects of climate change clearly shows the path to other countries to achieve Paris Agreement goals and United Nations’ SDGs.