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It's never asked. Hey who cares about energy anyways? It's not like it's important. :/

The dilemma in Swedish electricity policy is that we have three incompatible goals, of which only two are possible to reach at any given time. The goals are:

  • No more exploitation of hydroelectric resources (=no more hydro).

  • No more greenhouse gas emissions from power generation (=no natural gas).

  • Nuclear phase-out (=no nuclear).

If someone where to push the "greens" they would probably respond "renewable power and conservation".

The problem is that the remaining renewable resources, the hydro, is completely off limits. Wind is a marginal resource in Sweden, 10 TWh (of which 1 TWh has been exploited) compared with our 140 TWh consumption.

Then we have conservation. The problem here is that the vast Swedish electricity consumption is mainly due to our heavy process industry, which is vital for the country and also very electricity efficient. That consumption can't be reduced.

So then they attack small consumers instead, slapping high electricity taxes on citizens which corporations don't have to pay. This policy has not managed to reduce consumption, only slow consumption growth. And one should remember that increasing electricity use is a good thing as long as total energy consumption is constant (as has been the case in Sweden for the last 30 years).

The only way to conserve power in Sweden is to reduce power production by closing nuclear reactors. This pushes the power price upwards, creating conservation. And at the same time, killing vital private industry.

Nice job.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Apr 20th, 2006 at 09:40:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Those three goals are compatible. The fourth (implicit) goal that makes the whole incompatible is "nondecreasing electricity supply". And, in fact, the situation you are describing is one in which the first three goals are achieved and the fourth is given up.

How about renewably using wood coal for fuel? Sweden has huge and sensibly managed forestry resources.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 20th, 2006 at 09:49:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes of course you are correct. But for a number of reasons the competitivness of Swedish process industry must not decrease. It's just a big no-no.

Anyway, using wood fuel is not an option. It is already used for heating all our cities in combined heat and power plants, and in the very important paper industry, not to mention the big plans for cellulosic ethanol or black liquor for DME.

There is just not enough wood.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Apr 20th, 2006 at 09:59:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
CIA World Fact Book:
Timber, hydropower, and iron ore constitute the resource base of an economy heavily oriented toward foreign trade. Privately owned firms account for about 90% of industrial output, of which the engineering sector accounts for 50% of output and exports.

GDP - composition by sector:

  • agriculture: 1.8%
  • industry: 28.6%
  • services: 69.7% (2005 est.)

Industries:
iron and steel, precision equipment (bearings, radio and telephone parts, armaments), wood pulp and paper products, processed foods, motor vehicles
It does seem you may have hit "the limits of growth" unless you use nuclear power (even at an increasing rate). Not good.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 20th, 2006 at 10:11:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not really. The amount of hydro and timber resources have been finite (albeit renewable) and exploited almost to max for several decades, and during the latest 30 years our energy consumption has remained constant. The only change has been a switch from oil to biofuels and nuclear power.

As a matter of fact, biofuels is larger than nuclear energy in Sweden. The energy balance is something like:

  • Nuclear 13 %

  • Hydro 13 %

  • Biofuels 17 %

  • Oil 40 %

  • Other and calculation error 17 %

By the way, I have been looking more closely at Swedish uranium reserves. They fall mainly into two kinds. Some newly discovered pretty small high grade reserves and the awesome giant very low grade reserves.

The world's total conventional (ie very low grade excluded) uranium reserves are 2 million metric tonnes. The unconventional reserves at Mount Billingen alone are 300.000 to 1 million tonnes. Total Swedish reserves are 4-32 million metric tonnes.

The big spread is due to no one looking for uranium since 1980 when we had our negative nuclear referendum. All funds for uranium prospecting were cut.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Apr 21st, 2006 at 03:04:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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