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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Nordic countries and an energy transition.

Nordic countries are bringing about an energy transition worth copying. A new study by Professor Benjamin Sovacool at the University of Sussex offers some important lessons.The Trump administration's "First energy plan" criticizes the "burdensome" regulations on the energy industry and aims to eliminate "harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan" which was introduced by President Barack Obama. It has also deleted all mentions of climate change and global warming from the White House website. Given the American leadership vacuum on energy and climate change, national and local planners looking to bring about energy transitions will need to look elsewhere. Five Nordic countries -- Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden -- could hold answers for how to make the transition to a more energy efficient society generating energy through renewables. About 83% of electricity generation in Nordic countries is low-carbon, of which 63% comes entirely from renewable sources. The Nordic countries are also facilitating other low-carbon transitions across other sectors including heat, buildings, industry, and transport. A new study outlines broad lessons for how this transition could be replicated elsewhere. The energy transition pays for itself (if you factor in the costs of air pollution) The total estimated cost of the Nordic energy transition is roughly $357 billion more than business as usual, which comes to a total of less than 1 percent of cumulative GDP between now and 2050. Almost all of these costs will be offset by fuel savings. Even the external costs associated with the health impacts of air pollution alone in the Nordic countries (about $9 to $14 billion annually) are roughly equal to the additional investment needed to achieve a carbon neutral scenario. Trade and interconnection with other countries are key for reaching energy targets Trade and interconnection with Europe are instrumental to the Nordic countries reaching their carbon and energy targets. Nordic electricity trade must expand considerably -- underscoring the need for paralleled, coordinated grid development and interconnections with Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. "It's as much a regional governance or European challenge as it is a national priority for individual Nordic states," says Sovacool, a Professor of Energy Policy at the University of Sussex's Science Policy Research Unit and Director of the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand. Continue