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
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
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.
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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
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
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
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
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.