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Solid biomass policy in Sweden 


In the EU-directive 2001/77/EG for RES, the indicative target of the electricity consumption in Sweden should increase from 49.1% in 1997 to 60% in 2010. That means 16 TWh of new RES. Although wind power today supplies less than 1% of Sweden’s total electricity production, it has the potential to supply a considerably greater share, making it an area of political priority. In Bill No. 2001/02:143, Cooperation for Reliable, Effective and Environmentally Friendly Electricity Production, the Swedish Parliament has set a national planning target of 10 TWh of electricity from wind power by 2015. Instructed by the Government, the Swedish Energy Agency has proposed a new planning target of 30 TWh of wind power production in 2020. Of this, 20 TWh should be onshore, and 10 TWh offshore. This will necessitate an increase in the number of wind power plants from less than 1000 to 3000–6000.

Swedish RES-E policy is composed of the following mechanisms:

Biomass is a traditional and increasingly important energy source in Sweden. Government policies, especially CO2 taxation on fossil fuels first imposed in 1990, have strongly contributed to this increase. 

According to the Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources the target for the share of energy from renewable sources in gross final consumption of energy in the year 2020 for Sweden is 49% (in the year 2005 the share was 39.8%). The Directive has a mandatory 10 % target for transport to be achieved by all Member States, which refers to renewable sources as a whole, not biofuels alone.

Renewable energy projections according to the National Renewable Energy Action Plan for Sweden

The National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) for Sweden was submitted in July 2010. The target according to Annex I of Directive 2009/28/EC is 49% for the year 2020 and the projected NREAP share in that year is 50.2%.  According to the projection, the most important contribution in the year 2020 is expected from biomass (renewable heating and cooling) (9491 ktoe, 48% of all renewable energy). Second important contribution is expected from hydropower (68.0 TWh or 5847 ktoe, 30% of all renewable energy). The third largest contribution is from biomass (renewable electricity) (16.7 TWh or 1435 ktoe, 7% of all renewable energy). Wind power contributes with 4.5 GW (12.5 TWh) in the year 2020 (onshore wind 4.4 GW and 12.0 TWh, offshore wind 0.2 GW and 0.5 TWh). For solar photovoltaic the 2020 contribution is projected to be 8 MW (4 GWh). For solar thermal the 2020 contribution is projected to be 6 ktoe. The two most important biofuels are projected to contribute 251 ktoe (biodiesel) and 465 ktoe (bioethanol / bio-ETBE) by 2020. The renewable electricity production from solid biomass amounts to 16.6 TWh (1430 ktoe) and for biogas it is expected to be 0.1 TWh (5 ktoe). The consumption of renewable heat is expected to amount to 9415 ktoe for solid biomass and 11 ktoe for biogas.

Renewable electricity and heat : solid biomass

In 2007, biomass-fired plants produced 9.1 TWh of renewable electricity. Compared with a total 12.7 TWh of renewable electricity produced by all plants covered by the certificate system, it can be seen that bioenergy is by far the largest energy source in the system. Of these 9.1 TWh, about 8 TWh were produced in plants that were commissioned before the electricity certificate system was started. With the introduction of the certificate system, annual production of renewable electricity in these plants increased by about 3.5 TWh as a result of such factors as increases in the proportion of biomass and increases in power outputs. This trend continues, although now at a slower rate, with production from 2004 to 2007 having risen by about 10%. However, it is not just the older plants that contribute to overall production, but also new plants that are being registered each year for the system. The total number of new plants has increased from 4 to 28 in the period 2003 to 2007, along with an electricity production of 0.1 TWh to 1.3 TWh in that same period.

There are many projects in progress for new plants that will be covered by the electricity certificate system. Of them, the largest is construction of the new Igelsta combined heat and power plant in Södertälje, which is due to start commercial operation at the beginning of 2010, with an annual production of about 500 GWh of electricity and 1250 GWh of district heating. Production will be based on several types of fuels, in order to create flexibility to be able to deal with any future changes in the types or amounts of fuels available. However, the main fuels will be various biomass-related feedstocks, which means that the plant will qualify for certificates. Waste and by products from forestry and the forest products industry, such as black liquors, chips and felling residues, form the single most common type of biomass that is eligible for the receipt of certificates. In Sweden peat is also used to a considerable extent. The relative proportions of the various renewable fuels has not significantly changed over the duration of the certificate system.

Future programme changes expected

No changes expected. 


Swedish Energy Agency: The electricity certificate system: The electricity certificate system 2008 .

Sweden renewable energy fact sheet: . January 2008

Energy policies of IEA countries; Sweden 2008 review. ISBN: 978-92-64-04333-6, 2008

EREC, Renewable energy policy review, Sweden, March 2009

Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources,

The National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs) are all published on the Transparency Platform on Renewable Energy: (sourced July - December 2010)

Renewable Energy Projections as Published in the National Renewable Energy Action Plans of the European Member States, (sourced December 2010)

Interactive EurObserv’ER Database
Last update: December 2010

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