INDEX - ENERGY ID# 0614-03



POSTED: 9 February 2006 - 6:45pm

Getting ready for the post peak challenges

Amsterdam, Sweden, was built as a city without oil. Could it be again?

Sweden planning for oil-free future

by John Vidal on 10 February 2006 found in The Hindu Times

Sweden is to take the biggest energy step of any advanced Western economy by trying to wean itself off oil completely within 15 years — without building a new generation of nuclear power stations.

The attempt by the country of 9 million people to become the world's first practically oil-free economy is being planned by a committee of industrialists, academics, farmers, car makers, civil servants and others, who will report to Parliament in several months.

The intention, the Swedish Government said, is to replace all fossil fuels with renewable sources of energy before climate change destroys economies and growing oil scarcity leads to huge new price rises.

``Our dependency on oil should be broken by 2020,'' said Mona Sahlin, Minister of Sustainable Development. ``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 gasoline.''

According to the energy committee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, there is growing concern that global oil supplies are peaking and will shortly dwindle, and that a global economic recession could result from high oil prices.
Ms Sahlin has described oil dependency as one of the greatest problems facing the world. ``A Sweden free of fossil fuels would give us enormous advantages, not least by reducing the impact from fluctuations in oil prices,'' she said. ``The price of oil has tripled since 1996.''

A Government official said: ``We want to be both mentally and technically prepared for a world without oil. The plan is a response to global climate change, rising petroleum prices and warnings by some experts that the world may soon be running out of oil.''

Sweden, which was badly hit by the oil price rises in the 1970s, now gets almost all its electricity from nuclear and hydroelectric power, and relies on fossil fuels mainly for transport.