Energy consumption at 30-year low in Sweden

Warm weather and a weak European economy brought a dip in Swedish electric energy use in 2014.

Energy-consumption levels have not been this low since 1986. The warm weather is one explanation, but the weak economy in Europe has also played a part. Following the financial crisis, Swedish industries’ energy consumption has not picked up substantially.

“It has been an unusually warm year, but demand from industries has also dipped, with a number of large corporations scaling down operations. It will take some time before we reach previous levels of energy consumption,” Bosse Andersson, deputy CEO of the trade association Swedish Energy, told Swedish Radio News.

However, electricity providers have not slowed down operations, Andersson said. Nuclear power provision is stable and wind power is growing steadily. “It represents around 10 percent of Swedish electricity production,” said Andersson.

Sweden’s energy surplus has meant that net export of electricity to neighbouring countries has been high in 2014, coming close to the levels of the record year of 2012.

The past year also saw a dip in energy prices, which have not been as low since 2007. Andersson believes prices will remain at the present level until the first nuclear power reactors are phased out in Sweden.

“We’re seeing growing production and we’re counting on a fifth reactor being set up in Finland, which will push prices down, Andersson said.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada’s Northwest Territories unveils ambitious energy plan, CBC News

Finland: Thousands of households lose power in eastern Finland, Yle News

Sweden: Lower electricity bills for Swedes, Radio Sweden

United States: Alaska’s wave, tidal & river energy: Great potential, daunting challenges, Alaska Dispatch

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