Promoting Sustainable Electricity in Europe

Promoting Sustainable Electricity in Europe

Challenging the Path Dependence of Dominant Energy Systems

Edited by William M. Lafferty and Audun Ruud

This is a timely and comparative assessment of initiatives to promote renewable electricity sources (RES-E) in eight European countries. Carried out by the ProSus research programme at the University of Oslo in cooperation with leading research institutions in each country, the book focuses on the promotional schemes used to foster RES-E in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden. The book is unique in that it monitors progress on implementing the EU RES-E Directive in relation to the impact of the ‘dominant energy systems’ in each country. Employing notions of ‘path dependency/path creation’, the analysis demonstrates that crucial lessons for promoting RES-E are to be found in the contextual conditions of national and regional settings; conditions that qualify the effects of more general, market-oriented schemes. The conclusions reached are of direct relevance for the ongoing debate as to the most effective policy instruments for achieving sustainable energy and climate policies in Europe.

Chapter 8: Sweden: Greening the Power Market in a Context of Liberalization and Nuclear Ambivalence

Yong Chen and Francis X. Johnson

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, environment, climate change, energy policy and regulation, environmental management, environmental politics and policy, management natural resources, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy


Yong Chen and Francis X. Johnson* INTRODUCTION Sweden has earned a reputation as an environmentally progressive nation, both internationally and in its domestic policies and institutions. Consequently, in analyses of renewable energy policy such as the present initiative, one expects to find a strong commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency. At the same time, Sweden has also created a highly successful industrial model by pursuing certain key export sectors, some of which are quite energy-intensive, such as machinery, chemicals and steel. These export-oriented industries have continued to play an important role in the Swedish economy, and have helped to balance a dependence on agricultural and consumer goods imports. As a small, open economy, Sweden has had to use its resource base efficiently and strategically. On 21 March 2002, the Swedish government presented an Energy Policy Bill (Regeringens Proposition 2002). An absolute target for the promotion of electricity from renewable energy sources was chosen because the fluctuations in water availability for hydropower made the relative (percentage) targets set in the RES-E Directive much higher than if a normalized climatic year had been used as the basis. Based on forecasts of electricity consumption in 2010, adding 10 TWh on top of the 2002 production levels, the government expected that 52 per cent of total electricity consumption in 2010 would be sourced from renewable sources. This is below the indicative target of 60 per cent originally assigned to Sweden under the RES-E Directive. Negotiations were initiated, and Sweden’s indicative target...

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