As we approach the end of 2023, remarkable success has been achieved by Sweden in its adoption of low-carbon energy for electricity generation. Our data, based on the actual figures from the first 11 months of the year, coupled with forecasted data for the last month, reveal that Swedish electricity consumption is overwhelmingly driven by clean energy. More than half of the country's electricity comes from hydropower, nearly a third from nuclear energy, and just above one-fifth from wind power. This means a staggering 95% of all electricity consumed in Sweden is generated from low-carbon sources. This accomplishment is significant, not just for Sweden, but for neighboring countries as well since Sweden exports a substantial part of this clean electricity, contributing to lower emissions in those regions. However, one challenge lying ahead lies in electrifying other sectors like transport, heating, and industry, which are bigger consumers of electricity.
Enhancing the country's capacity for low-carbon electricity generation can take several routes. Building on the already strong foundation of nuclear and wind energy generation could serve as one potential path forward. Nuclear energy,while still a contentious topic in some circles, has a proven track record in Sweden of generating a significant portion of the electricity with no emissions. Similarly, wind energy holds great promise, especially as technologies advance and efficiency rates continue to rise. Expanding these sectors could help to meet the growing demand for green electricity as more sectors become electrified.
Looking back at Sweden's history with low-carbon electricity, the country has experienced significant shifts over the past few decades. In the initial years of the 1980s, nuclear power saw a marked rise, adding over 22 TWh in a span of just five years. The 1990s were more turbulent; while hydropower experienced growth and contraction, nuclear generation weathered its share of ups and downs, culminating in a major thrust forward in the mid 1990s. The new millennium started off with a sharp drop in nuclear generation, swiftly followed by a rebound. From the early to mid-2000s, hydro electricity displayed somewhat erratic behaviour with fluctuating production rates. Unfortunately, the growth spurt of nuclear generation was halted during 2009 and 2020, when production declined significantly - this is a concern and it is hoped the momentum of the past can be regained.