Sweden has announced a big jump in spending (US$546 million) on renewable energy and climate change action in their 2016 budget, The aim is to become one of the world’s first nations to end dependence on fossil fuels.
Significantly, Sweden’s boost for renewables comes in the run-up to the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP21) that will be held in Paris in late November. In 2014 plans were announced to make Stockholm fossil-free by 2050.
“Sweden will become one of the first fossil-free welfare states in the world,” Prime Minister Stefan Löfven told the press. “When European regulations do not go far enough Sweden will lead the way.” Mr Löfven leads a “Red-Green” colaition government.
The increased investment will be targeted on solar and wind energy and on the transport industry. It will boost:
- smart grids
- renewable energy storage technology
- an electric bus fleet
- subsidies for green cars
- climate adaptation strategies
- renovation of residential buildings to make them more energy efficient.
Much of the money will come from higher taxes on petrol and diesel fuel. Research on renewable energy storage technology is seen as particularly important, given the inherent unreliability of wind and solar generation in many countries. Sweden is also planning to close down some of its aging nuclear power stations, as part of the shift towards renewables. Sweden has recently experienced summer heatwaves, and seeks to be a leading force for climate adaptation globally.