Sweden Plans to Be World's First Oil-Free Economy
· 15-year limit set for switch to renewable energy
· Biofuels favoured over further nuclear power
by John Vidal
Published on Wednesday, February 8, 2006 by the Guardian / UK
Read the entire article at: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0208-05.htm
Sweden is to take the biggest energy step of any advanced western economy by trying to wean itself off oil completely within 15 years - without building a new generation of nuclear power stations.
The attempt by the country of 9 million people to become the world's first practically oil-free economy is being planned by a committee of industrialists, academics, farmers, car makers, civil servants and others, who will report to parliament in several months.
The intention, the Swedish government said yesterday, is to replace all fossil fuels with renewables before climate change destroys economies and growing oil scarcity leads to huge new price rises.
Sweden, which was badly hit by the oil price rises in the 1970s, now gets almost all its electricity from nuclear and hydroelectric power, and relies on fossil fuels mainly for transport.
Almost all its heating has been converted in the past decade to schemes which distribute steam or hot water generated by geothermal energy or waste heat.
Iceland hopes by 2050 to power all its cars and boats with hydrogen made from electricity drawn from renewable resources, and Brazil intends to power 80% of its transport fleet with ethanol derived mainly from sugar cane within five years.
Last week George Bush surprised analysts by saying that the US was addicted to oil and should greatly reduce imports from the Middle East.
The US now plans a large increase in nuclear power.
Energy ministry officials in Sweden said they expected the oil committee to recommend further development of biofuels derived from its massive forests, and by expanding other renewable energies such as wind and wave power.
Summarized by Copernic Summarizer