European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič today arrives in Sweden on the next leg of the Energy Union tour, in order to discuss the EU's plan to help provide Europe with secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy.
Vice-President Šefčovič said: 'It is a pleasure for me to once again visit Sweden, a Member State well advanced in the energy transition and a strong supporter of our Energy Union project. The visit is a unique opportunity for me to discuss with a broad range of stakeholders the benefits the Energy Union brings to Sweden, and to see what the energy transition means in practice, both at national and local level. I am also curious to see which fresh ideas the Swedish youngsters of the University of Umeå will bring to the table. After all, the Energy Union is first and foremost a project for and driven by Europe's citizens'.
Over the last twenty years, Sweden has greatly decreased its reliance on fossil fuels in all sectors apart from transport. Nevertheless, CO2 emissions from transport – accounting for 33% of the country's total greenhouse gas emissions and more than 50% of non-ETS emissions – remain a particular policy challenge. A much higher proportion of the energy it uses for both electricity and heating comes from nuclear and renewable sources than in most other EU countries. Sweden has already reached the national targets for greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy and electricity interconnection targets that the EU set for 2020.
On 3 February 2017, the Swedish government presented a new climate law designed to ensure that all future governments have a 'credible climate policy' as well as setting a target of achieving zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. The law requires the government to develop an action plan for climate policy for its mandate period and report progress to the Parliament annually. In order to reach the zero net emissions goal, domestic emissions will need to be reduced by 85 % compared to 1990 levels.
Sweden has over 120 nationwide electricity suppliers, the most of any EU country, and more consumers switch suppliers than on average for the EU as a whole. Its electricity market is well integrated into the wider Nordic electricity market. Since 2005, its dependency on energy imports has decreased, although it imports all the natural gas, petroleum and related products that it uses.
During his visit, Vice-President Šefčovič will be meeting with the Swedish Energy Minister Ibrahim Baylan, and representatives of the Parliament’s Industry Committee and the Haga Initiative, a network of companies committed to reduce their climate emissions by 40% by 2020. The objective is to discuss the implementation of the 2030 energy and climate framework, Energy Union governance (including the preparation of the National Energy and Climate Plans) and the Commission’s Clean Energy for All Europeans package from November last year.
At the University of Umeå Vice-President Šefčovič will held a 'Energising Europe' discussion with students, focussing on the sustainable production of electricity and its importance for the smart specialisation in the Swedish region of Västerbotten. He will further visit the smart city of Umeå in an ultrafast rechargeable electric buses awarded with the CIVITAS award of technical innovation. Finally, Vice-President Šefčovič will discuss bioeconomy and the role North Sweden's forestry in climate change with stakeholders from the region of Västerbotten.
As part of the 2017 Energy Union Tour, the Vice-President has already visited the Netherlands, Spain and Slovakia. Upcoming dates and more information on the 2017 Energy Union tour are available here.