Swedish long-term low carbon scenario - Exploratory study on opportunities and barriers

In 2009, the Swedish government proposed a vision of reaching zero net emissions of greenhouse gases in the year 2050. However, there are few details on concrete actions after 2020. In the light of the long investment cycles associated with energy, housing, transport infrastructure and heavy industry, we believe that the society now needs to start identifying possible pathways for reaching this vision. The pathways also need to be investigated in terms of their feasibility and consequences. The aim of our study has been to develop and elaborate on one potential future energy scenario where Sweden minimises the use of fossil fuels in 2050 and to identify opportunities and barriers. The scenario we present is one of several possible scenarios and is obviously not a forecast. Our purpose is not to show a likely development, but rather to illustrate, by example, a society that is largely independent of fossil fuels and what would be required to get there. In a next step, more detailed scenarios as well as accurate impact assessments are needed. For example, the impact of high bioenergy utilisation needs to be carefully examined. The results also show several cross-sectoral measures and/or effects that need further study. There is also a need for thorough cost analyses as well as analyses of what is required to implement these measures in practice. We have analysed potential fossil fuel reductions in the sectors industry, residential/service, transports and energy conversion. For these sectors, systematic investigations have been made on measures for replacing fossil fuels, improving energy efficiency and applying new technologies and industrial processes. Our scenario is to a great extent based on existing technologies. In addition to sector specific measures, we have applied cross-sectoral measures such as using industrial surplus heat in the residential sector or forest residues for producing heat and power. Furthermore, we have assumed a system change in transportation and limited use of carbon capture and storage (CCS). The applied measures influence the demand for electricity, heat/steam and fuels. The results indicate a very high demand for biofuels in the future.

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Last updated: 2021-05-05

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

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IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute has a wide environmental profile. We combine applied research and development with close collaboration between industry and the public sphere. Our consultancy is evidence-based, and our research is characterized by interdisciplinary science and system thinking.

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