Sweden has topped the chart for the World Economic Forum’s Energy Transitions Index.
Sustainable energy is the need of the hour. Environmentalists and global climate leaders have raised concerns countless time, about the increase in energy consumption over the past few years. Setting an example, Sweden has become the first country to establish methodologies for saving energy on a larger scale. Instead of becoming a consumer, the country has become the Prosumer of energy. This year Sweden has topped the chart for the World Economic Forum’s Energy Transitions Index.
Different areas of Energy Production
Though the country has a high consumption of energy, it has a low emission rate. Sweden produces 80% of the energy from nuclear and hydro-electric power and has three nuclear plants that have eight nuclear reactors in commercial operations. About 12% of the electricity comes from wind power, and combined heat and power (CHP) plants account for 9% of the electricity output in Sweden, which is powered by bio-fuels.
Unlike, using coal and other traditional practices for producing electricity, Sweden relies on renewable energy sources like Wind Power, Bioenergy, solar energy, Wave Power, Heat Pumps, Ethanol, Hydrogen and body heat for producing energy. The country aims to achieve renewable energy production by the year 2040.
Transforming Homes into a Highly Efficient Prosumers
A paper titled “Transforming a residential building Cluster into electricity Prosumers in Sweden” talks about the transformational change, the country is embarking for being energy efficient prosumers. The case study states that by integrating click-and-go photovoltaics (PV) panels into the building, centralizing exhaust air heat pump, storing thermal energy for excess PV electricity, and sharing PV electricity within the building cluster for thermal/electrical demand, would enable energy storage.
Moreover, to optimize the capacity and positions of PV modules at the cluster level, and to maximize the self-consumed electricity under a non-negative net present value during the economic lifetime, the coupled PV-heat pump-thermal storage-electric vehicle system, a fitness function based on genetic algorithm is established. The results of the case study indicate that the coupled system can effectively improve the district-level PV electricity self-consumption rate to about 77%.
Additionally, with the help of the above model, energy sharing can significantly improve renewable energy self-consumption. The study states that the self-consumption could reach as high as 77% while maintaining self-sufficiency above 20%, which is much higher than other studies at similar high latitude. This is because the aggregated electrical demand of multiple buildings eliminates the huge peaks featured by single building’s demand, and thus can better match the PV power generations.
Low Electricity Prices
Another reason behind Sweden being an energy Prosumer is the low electricity costs. The mild winter season, long periods of precipitation and relatively windy weather are the catalyst for low electricity prices in Sweden. Tomas Jonson CEO of Elskling, a comparison site for electricity prices explains this further “This means that reservoirs are filled to a high level, which provides good conditions for hydropower which represents 40% of the country’s electricity production.”
Moreover, as the temperature is hardly high as compared to other western counterparts, with less consumption of electricity, more energy is produced. To simply put, climate change plays a significant role in energy consumption.
Taking Sweden as an example, EU leaders passed a memorandum, with a target to use 32% renewable energy sources for energy production by 2030. The EU is also aiming in restricting the use of those products that demand high energy. Sweden’s approach is talking about the necessity to save energy. The world must heed onto the message behind it.