Sweden reaffirms aims for oil-free economy

Thursday, February 9, 2006

In the past year, Mona Sahlin, the Swedish Minister for Sustainable Development, announced plans to break the nation's dependency on oil by 2020, without building new nuclear plants. She stated that, “There shall always be better alternatives to oil, which means no house should need oil for heating, and no driver should need to turn solely to petrol.”

As part of the program, Sweden has recently organized the roles of various agencies in the expansion of its wind power program.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences is concerned the oil supply is peaking and that future high oil prices could cause global economic recession. Sweden currently gets the majority of its electricity from nuclear and hydroelectric power, and 26% of all its energy comes from renewables (6% is the EU average). Sweden's long term aims for energy independence are partially rooted in the 1970s oil shocks.

In related news, Exxon Mobil Senior Vice President Stuart McGill claimed on Tuesday that energy independence for the United States "is simply not feasible in any time period relevant to our discussion today." He stated "No combination of conservation measures, alternative energy sources and technological advances could realistically and economically provide a way to completely replace those imports in the short or medium term." McGill proposed "energy interdependence" as the solution best suited to importing nations.