Natural resources, energy and environment
Sweden has large natural resources, mainly in the form of forest, iron ore and hydropower. Energy consumption is high, but the use of fossil fuels is relatively low. Hydropower, nuclear power and biofuels have made it possible to reduce oil imports.
Sweden is the only major iron ore exporter in the EU and accounts for a few percent of world production. The assets of copper, lead, zinc, gold, silver and uranium are also among the largest in the EU. However, uranium mining does not occur. The country is also one of the major exporters of paper, pulp and wood products in the world.
- COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Sweden with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
The mining industry has played a major role in Swedish history for centuries. In the Bergslagen Sala silver mine had its heyday during the 16th century, and Falu copper mine produced most during the 1600s. The iron ore in Bergslagen was also important. Today’s Swedish mining industry is mainly located in Norrland and is dominated by two companies. State LKAB (Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB) mines iron ore in Kiruna-Malmberget. Boliden AB mainly produces copper and zinc, in Aitik in northern Lapland and in the Skellefte field and in Garpenberg in Dalarna.
The cold climate, electricity demanding industry and the long distances contribute to Sweden having a high energy consumption. More than half of the energy consumed comes from renewable sources, while the use of fossil fuels is low in an international perspective. The predominant renewable energy sources are bioenergy and hydropower, which are mainly used for heating and electricity generation, respectively.
- Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, SE stands for Sweden. Visit itypeusa for more information about Sweden.
Sweden has been striving to reduce its dependence on oil since the 1970s, and the share of oil in total energy consumption has since fallen from two-thirds to one-third. Today, the oil is mainly used in the transport sector, while the industry largely uses biofuels and the heat production is managed with electric heating and district heating. In the district heating plants, biofuels and, to a certain extent, fossil fuels are used, but also heat pumps and waste heat from industry. Biofuels include residues from forestry and the forest and paper industry, energy crops and garbage burning.
Cheap hydropower was an important factor in Sweden’s industrial development and is still central to electricity generation. Hydropower and nuclear power account for equal proportions and a total of about 80 percent of total production. Wind power is expanding at a rapid rate, accounting for 11 percent in 2018. The remaining electricity comes mainly from conventional thermal power.
Nuclear power has long been disputed. After a referendum in 1980, the Riksdag decided that all nuclear power plants should be completely shut down by 2010. After several years of political discussions, that decision was repealed in 1997, but the two reactors located in Barsebäck were closed in 1999 and 2005.
A new energy deal was concluded in 2009 and means that existing nuclear power plants may be replaced with new ones, but without government subsidies. Subsequently, three more reactors have been closed (2015, 2017 and 2019), for profitability reasons. Seven reactors are still in operation, in Ringhals on the west coast and in Forsmark and Oskarshamn on the Baltic Sea coast. According to plans, one of the three reactors in Ringhals will be closed by the end of 2020.
Another energy agreement was reached in 2016 and set the goal that all electricity generation should be renewable by 2040. No requirement that nuclear power – or fossil fuels – be gone then was not put down (see Calendar).
The electricity market was deregulated in 1996. This did not lead to lower electricity prices, but the tendency instead became closer to higher prices in the outside world. Electricity taxes have also been raised, and a fee has been added to make renewable energy sources more competitive.
The Riksdag adopted a climate policy framework in 2017, which includes, among other things, a climate law. This applies from 1 January 2018 and means that the government must present a climate report in the budget every year, and that a climate policy action plan must be drawn up every four years. Sweden has also set climate targets which mean that in 2045 the country will not have any “net emissions” of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and that emissions will then be “negative”. This can be done, for example, by absorbing carbon dioxide in forests and land or by investing in renewables outside the country’s borders.
FACTS – ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
5 103 kilograms of oil equivalent (2015)
Electricity consumption per person
13480 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
43 421 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
4.5 tons (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
53.2 percent (2015)
Terrorist act in Stockholm
An explosion occurs in central Stockholm: a man first blasts a car that starts burning and then himself to death. He had e-mailed warnings in advance to the news agency TT and to the Security Police, with threats of revenge for violations of Islam and Sweden’s military presence in Afghanistan. The man, who originated in Iraq, is believed to have been on his way to carry out a suicide attack when the explosion occurred in advance.
Basic amendments are adopted
All parliamentary parties except SD vote for several changes; among other things, EU membership must be entered into the Constitution, and a rule is introduced that Parliament must vote on the Prime Minister’s post after each election. Election day is also moved, from third to second Sunday in September.
The red-green dissolved
The opposition alliance on the left, which aimed at government cooperation, ceases to exist (see December 2008).
Reinfeldt presents a minority government with the four alliance parties M, FP, C and KD.
The environmental party does not want to be part of the government
MP rejects signals of government cooperation with the Alliance, but says it is willing to settle on, among other things, asylum and immigration policy.
Civilian Rolling Victory
The parliamentary election results in the Alliance losing its majority but remaining. The reason is that the Swedish Democrats (SD) will for the first time enter the Riksdag and with their 20 mandates will be given a guardian role. S gets 30.7% (112 seats), M 30.1% (107), MP 7.3% (25), FP 7.1% (24), C 6.6% (23), SD 5, 7% (20), V 5.6% (19), KD 5.6% (19).
Volvo Cars are sold
The deal where Chinese Geely buys Volvo Cars from American Ford is reported to be complete.
The Minister of Labor is leaving
Labor Minister Sven Otto Littorin resigns. The message is unexpected; he states private reasons. Shortly thereafter, it emerges that the day before he was confronted by a newspaper about information about alleged sex purchases.
The military service ends
At the end of the first half of the year, the general duty to consume expires (see June 2009).
The Crown Princess is getting married
Crown Princess Victoria marries Daniel Westling, who thus gets the title of prince.
Saab Automobile is sold
The deal in which General Motors sells Saab Automobile to the Dutch company Spyker is completed.