Everything is about power – and electricity is also the key to climate change
It’s no wonder that the issue of climate change has been somewhat overshadowed in the past year. But despite high electricity prices, the issues are connected because it is precisely electricity that is the basis for climate change. In the short term, savings can be made and we can get better at moving power-intensive use away from the busiest hours, but fundamentally it is about more electricity being needed to power the transition.
– It is an enormous undertaking that we have before us, which requires large investments in fossil-free electricity production and a balanced power system, says Anton Steen, head of Fortum’s community relations in Sweden, and continues: -At the same time, precisely the lack of sufficient fossil-free electricity that can be planned is a contributing cause to today’s situation. The positive thing is that the investments we make to be able to drive the transition will also contribute to getting us out of the situation with high electricity prices that we are in now.
– The EU countries get 70 percent of their energy from fossil fuels – and globally we have just fallen below the 80 percent mark. This is also why the Russian gas weapon produces such great effects. In the Nordics, fossil dependence is significantly lower, thanks to our historic investments in hydro, nuclear and bioenergy, even though the last decade’s shutdowns of planned power in southern Sweden mean that we mostly import continental electricity prices, says Anton Steen.
He believes that even though we have a better starting position than many other countries, we still use a lot of fossil fuels in the transport and industrial sectors. Replacing all this energy with clean electricity means almost doubling the amount of electricity we produce by the year 2040 – and that only in the Nordic countries. – This means that we will need all fossil-free forms of power. We usually talk about a plate model with one-third stable nuclear power, one-third flexible hydropower and one-third weather-dependent wind power, he says.
– More people than before will be affected. Wind turbines and power lines will become more visible in the landscape and small modular reactors will be built in new locations, closer to industries and cities. Highlighting the enormous benefits of electrification will be the key to building local acceptance for these investments, believes Anton Steen.
We have already started to notice some of the benefits, where the proportion of electric cars is increasing and creating a more sustainable urban environment, in northern Sweden there is a feverish spirit of new construction when a new wave of sustainable industrialization creates jobs and faith in the future. We may not notice other parts of the transition so clearly, but the transition of, for example, the fossil-based chemical industry today plays a big role. Did you know that chemical products are included in 95 percent of all products on the market? We make all this possible with fossil-free electricity.
– Electrification is the major industrial project that has the potential to ensure jobs and welfare for Sweden in the future as well. It will place great demands on all social institutions to pull in the same direction and also great efforts to update and modernize the regulations, says Anton Steen.
The article is produced by Brand Studio in collaboration with Fortum Recycling & Waste and not an article by Dagens industri