General – Sweden
Sweden’s parliament on Tuesday, June 20 adopted a new energy target, giving the right-wing government the green light to push forward with plans to build new nuclear plants in a country that voted 40 years ago to phase out atomic power.
Changing the target to “100% fossil-free” electricity, from “100% renewable” is key to the government’s plan to meet an expected doubling of electricity demand to around 300 TwH by 2040 and reach net zero emissions by 2045.
“This creates the conditions for nuclear power,” Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson said in parliament. “We need more electricity production, we need clean electricity and we need a stable energy system.”
Sweden’s parties agreed a deal in 2016 that new reactors could be built at existing sites. However, without subsidies, it has been seen as too expensive. The new right-of-centre coalition says new reactors are essential to power the shift to a fossil-free economy and has promised generous loan guarantees.
Around 98% of electricity in Sweden is already generated from water, nuclear and wind.
State-owned utility Vattenfall is looking at building at least two small modular reactors and at extending the life of the country’s existing reactors.
The focus on nuclear power is part of a wider shift in environmental policy in a country that has long touted itself as a ‘green’ champion.