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Biofuels 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 transport fuels (biofuel)

Vehicles purchased by the public sector must as a general rule be clean vehicles. From 2007 onwards a minimum 85% of cars purchased or leased by the State authorities must be clean ve-hicles. In the case of emergency vehicles, in 2007 a minimum 25% of vehicles purchased by the State authorities must be clean vehicles.

Clean vehicle premium
The Government introduced a premium in spring 2007 to induce private individuals to switch over to clean vehicles, so as to provide an incentive for fuel-efficient cars and vehicles using environmentally-friendly fuels. The premium covers conventional fuel efficient cars, cars pow-ered by alternative fuels, electric hybrids and electric cars of a certain level of efficiency. A pri-vate individual buying a new clean car in the period 1 April 2007 to 31 December 2009 will re-ceive a SEK 10 000 premium. The Government has set aside a total of SEK 250 million for the clean car premium.

Congestion charge in Stockholm
A ‘congestion charge’ was trialled in Stockholm between 3 January and 31 July 2006. Clean vehicles were exempt, and this contributed to a rise in sales in the Stockholm region. Given the positive results of the trial, the Swedish Parliament decided to make it permanent. It is therefore to be levied in Stockholm from 1 August 2007 onwards. The aim of the charge is to improve access and Stockholm’s environment, and also to help finance investments in the road network in the Stockholm region. Clean vehicles will continue to be exempt, but only for a period of five years.

The table below lists the main biofuel-related measures in Sweden. The table has been taken from the ELOBIO project.



Valid until


Tax incentives



Tax exemption for ethanol and biogas



Full tax exemption for biofuels for pilot projects



CO2-neutral fuels are exempt from CO2 tax       



CO2-neutral fuels are exempt from CO2 and energy tax (0.10€/litre)









SS 155436, vegetable fatty acid methyl esters



SS 155437, fuel alcohol for high-speed diesel engines



SS 155438, biogas as a fuel for high-speed Otto engines



SS 155480, Ethanol E85



In spring 2006, Sweden decided to revise the diesel standard (which limited RME blending to 2%), in order to allow for up to 5% RME blends in mineral diesel.






Other incentives / support programmes






Swedish “Climate Bill”, financial support of approximately 4.7 million Euros for research and development on the fermentation of cellulose to ethanol.



New Energy Bill, research and development on production from cellulose received an additional governmental support of 23 million Euros.



Procurement for ethanol-fuelled vehicles. Agreement to purchase more than 3,000 Ford FFVs.



Grants for investments in environmentally friendly vehicles including investment in refuelling stations for alternative fuels (approx. €80.5 mil).



Financial support for R&D (23 mil euros) for 124 projects.

Sweden supports research, development and demonstration measures for developing more energy-efficient and more cost-effective processes for the production of biofuels. In 2003, the Swedish Energy Agency carried out measures as part of several different programmes for developing production processes for fuels such as ethanol, methanol, dimethyl ether (DME), FT diesel, biogas and hydrogen. State funding for biofuel-related measures is estimated to be at least SEK 50 million per annum.



Governmental ordinance, SFS no: 2004:1364 (The Ministry of Industry) “Authorities purchase and leasing of environmentally friendly vehicles”



Parking measures



Financial support for R&D (6 mil euros)



Cars powered by alcohol have a 20% tax reduction for company car tax.



Environmental policy for government fleets. At least 25% of all new government vehicles must be eco-friendly.



Introduction of congestion charge in Stockholm (test). FFVs are classified as environmental friendly vehicles and exempt from congestion charge.



From April 2006, all fuel stations that in 2005 sold more than 300m³ petrol and diesel, should also offer at least one renewable fuel.



As of 2007 at least 85% of all cars purchased by government authorities and 25% of emergency services have to be environment friendly.



Cash bonus of SEK 10,000 (€ 900) to private individuals who buy a new ‘green’ car. The program is scheduled to run from April 2007 until December 2009.



As of August 2007 there is a permanent congestion charge in Stockholm. Green cars are exempt from this charge.






Market conditions (apart from measures)



Foundation for Swedish Development of Ethanol (SSEU), later (1999) renamed as Bio Alcohol Fuel Foundation (BAFF).



Introduction of FFVs, 

Introduction of neat ethanol (E95) for the use as a fuel in buses with diesel engines.



First Swedish filling station for E85 was opened in Örnsköldsvik.



Oil Company OK promised to set up a filling station in every municipality with at least 5 FFVs



Scania introduces commercial ethanol buses.



First public biogas station opens



Ford starts supplying Focus FFVs to the Swedish market.



All gasoline in Stockholm and southeast is blended with up to 5% ethanol.



Establishment of non-profit organization BioFuel region (BFR).



Scania announced to stop the production of ethanol heavy-duty engines, unless there is sufficient market demand.



All gasoline (95 octane) in Sweden is blended with 5% ethanol.



Production plant for R&D for ethanol production from cellulose (16 million Euros from the Swedish Energy Administration) in Örnsköldsvik.



Saab and Volvo introduce new FFV models.



Since August 2006, Statoil has been incorporating 5% biodiesel into all diesel sold by the company in Sweden.



Sweden’s rising ethanol consumption is based on imports, of which a large share is sourced in Brazil. In 2007, total imports are estimated at about 250 million litres according to Swedish statistics.



SEKAB announced that it is the first company in the world to supply verified sustainable ethanol. This is ethanol from Brazilian sugarcane for inclusion in E85 and E95 and will be available from August 2008. It is quality assured from environmental, climate and social perspectives, using criteria that cover the entire lifecycle of ethanol from the sugarcane field to its use in cars. Brazilian mills will receive a 5 to 10% premium for the certified product. An independent auditor will monitor performance.


Future programme changes expected
No information available.

Sources National report on the implementation of Directive 2003/30/EC of 8 May 2003 on the promotion of the use of biofuels or other renewable fuels for transport for 2006

ELOBIO, Inventory of biofuel policy measures and their impact on the market, September 2008,

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 and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC (Entry into force on June 25th, 2009), download from

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

This information can be referenced without permission provided that thesource is mentioned completely and correctly: 'Interactive EurObserv'ER Database, (date of last update)'

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