Major Swedish parties agree to 100% renewable goal by 2040

Since spring Swedish politicians have been locked in negotiations to come up with a suitable policy framework for the future of Swedish power, past 2025. The agreement that has been reached has focused on scaling back the country’s nuclear program and pushing renewable energies, which is likely to make small-scale PV particularly attractive.

The Swedish Energy Commission was set up in March 2015 with the purpose of coming to a general political consensus on the future of the Swedish electricity market. Although eight parties were originally involved, it has ended up with representatives from five of the country’s political parties, including the two biggest: the Swedish Social Democrats and the Moderate Coalition Party.

It is just a framework for now, but it has set out some ambitious plans for a transition to a carbon-free economy. Included in this is 100% renewable powerby 2040, while still planning to be a net exporter of power. To do so, the government plans on continuing investment in transmission capacity, demand flexibility and energy efficiency, plus it will extend the Swedish green electricity certificate system from 2020 to 2030.

What is equally interesting is that the agreement has set out a goal to completely phase out the country’s nuclear program. A decision to decommission of the country’s four oldest nuclear reactors by 2020 has already been made by their owners, due to the major investment required to meet future security requirements. There have also been discussions to shut down the other six reactors in the near future, which has resulted in a decrease of the nuclear tax in the new agreement, so that Sweden would not lose all of its current nuclear production capacity in just a few years.

The framework also aims to make small-scale electricity production and self-consumption easier, especially for PV systems, which are set to benefit on July 1 from a law which will exemplify systems of 255 KW or less from the Swedish energy consumption tax when the energy is self-consumed. The new agreement outlines an increase in general energy tax to make up for the shortfall left by the scaling back the nuclear tax, which should further benefit self-consumption of PV electricity, as it will be exempt.

There has not been an official number put on how much PV will contribute to the 100% target, but market observers are hopeful that it will make up a decent amount of Sweden’s energy mix in the future.

"The Swedish Solar Association has a long term goal that PV shall account for 10% of the energy in a 100% renewable Swedish energy system,” Swedish Solar Energy Association spokesperson, Johan Lindahl told pv magazine. “However, there is not an official goal for PV from the government yet. But the government has given the Swedish Energy Agency a mission to develop a strategy for the Swedish PV market. This work will be presented in the late autumn.“

However, any significant PV installations are more than likely to come from small-scale projects rather than large plants. “The market is almost exclusively driven by self-consumption,” continued Lindahl. “And I don’t see that that will changes in the near future.”

However, storage is expected to play a role in the energy transition, as the government maximizes the advantages of self-consumption. “I expect incentives to be introduced for decentralized storage soon. The government has set of money for a direct capital subsidy for storage for private homes in their budget,” added Lindahl.