Swedes set to smash renewable target 12 years early

Sweden could meet a 2030 renewable energy target by the end of 2018. [Shutterstock]

Sweden has made such large gains in building up renewable energy capacity that analysts believe the Nordic country will meet one of its 2030 targets this year, thanks largely to wind power.

In 2012, Sweden pledged, along with Norway, to increase electricity production from renewable energy sources by 28.4 terawatt hours (TWh) by 2020. Last year, Sweden upped the ante once again with the aim of adding a further 18 TWh by 2030.

Taking into account already installed capacity, particularly wind turbines, and planned investments, Sweden’s Energy Agency estimated that production could top 19 TWh by the end of this year.

Energy expert Markus Selin explained that “after the decision on the increase in ambition was reached, a lot of investment decisions have been taken and many wind turbines are set to be completed in the coming years”.

Sweden’s power ambitions are impressive compared with the rest of Europe. A 2020 EU target of 20% renewable energy and a 49% national target illustrate the country’s progress compared with other countries, as Sweden already topped 50% back in 2015.

Sweden tops climate action index, Ireland underwhelms

Ireland is the worst performing EU member state on climate change action, according to a new report that has ranked 60 of the world’s major countries in order of commitment to emissions reductions and other tenets of the Paris Agreement.

The government has also set a 50% energy efficiency target for 2030, outstripping a recently brokered EU-wide target, which will only impose an overall 32.5% on the member states.

Last week, the European Commission opened a public consultation on a long-term climate plan, which is meant to put the EU’s economy on a pathway that will make meeting the targets of the Paris Agreement possible.

The Commission is now obligated to come up with mid-century options for a net-zero emissions strategy and may take pointers from Sweden, which wants to achieve that by 2045.

In June, NGO Climate Action Network Europe ranked the EU member states by their climate action efforts and Sweden placed second in a list where no country was awarded the top spot.

CAN insisted that no European country is doing enough to fight climate change or cut carbon emissions but acknowledged that Sweden, Portugal, France and the Netherlands are the “leaders of the pack”.

The umbrella organisation reserved particular criticism for Estonia, Ireland and Poland.

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