Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Oil commission presents report

Stephen Hinton analyses the report released from Sweden’s Oil Commission.

Some nine months after Sweden officially announced it was to break its dependence on oil, the commission set up to answer the question ”how” presented its report Wednesday the 28th June. This report comes against the background of news reports of deep disagreement among the members and reports from the Swedish Energy Authority dispelling any risk of energy vulnerability through “peal oil”. The task given to the commission was to present concrete proposals to break dependence on oil. These proposals should show how, by breaking this dependence, long term energy supply would be secured, new technology stimulated, competitiveness increased and improved use of forestry and agriculture as energy sources.

Early in the report the commission analyses in which respects Sweden is dependant on oil. Sweden produces 647 TWh. Oil makes up 207 TWh (including losses). The three sectors that are dependant on oil are Transport, 95 TWh 97% oil, Agriculture and fisheries, 70% dependant using 7 TWh and the Building trade where 67% of the energy is from oil at 2 TWh. To get things in perspective, the commission’s diagrams show how losses from nuclear energy (149 TWh) are higher than the total energy used from oil (137 TWh). The main reason given for drastic reduction of oil combustion is its climate disruption effect through greenhouse gas emissions. This will be helped by the price increases.

The Prime Minister, in his presentation of the report, underlines however the importance of the energy security dimension. At the same time, this reduction in use of oil should not make the conditions for economic growth more difficult than today.

The next step in the commission’s thinking is harder to follow: what is meant by breaking oil dependence and the creating the conditions for achievement of the concomitant national goals? The report makes it clear that they foresee use of oil continuing beyond 2020, but that their proposals will bring about a reduction of oil use.

Five main measures:
• Overall increase of energy efficiency by 20%.
• Development of fuel from agricultural sources.
• Increase in Electricity as energy transfer medium
• Support development of biogas, but not support of fossil natural gas
• Development of EU regulations and measures

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