Sweden Boosts Renewables to Become First Fossil-Fuel-Free Nation

  • Plans to invest $546 million in clean energy in 2016
  • Government to spur solar, wind and energy storage measures

Sweden said it’s targeting to become one of the first nations in the world to be free of fossil fuels and that it will invest 4.5 billion kronor ($546 million) in climate-protection measures next year as a step toward that goal.

The government will increase support for solar, wind, energy storage, smart grids and clean transport. Investment in photovoltaics will rise nearly eightfold to 390 million kronor per year between 2017 and 2019, with a plan to spend a total of 1.4 billion kronor, the government said on Wednesday in Stockholm.

Sweden got about two-thirds of its electricity generation capacity from clean and low-carbon sources last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It plans to significantly reduce its emissions by 2020. It didn’t set a target date for the nation becoming fossil free, though Stockholm may reach that goal by 2050.

More investment in renewable energy is needed to meet the target of lowering emissions by 40 percent by 2020, Environment Minister Aasa Romson said at a press conference.

Sweden will also spend 50 million kronor annually on electricity storage research, 10 million kronor on smart grids and 1 billion kronor to renovate residential buildings and make them more energy efficient. The government is also planning to invest in clean transportation such as electric buses.

The Scandinavian country will also increase its funding of climate-related projects in developing countries, raising its budget to 500 million kronor. The government hopes it will send an “important signal” before the United Nations conference in Paris in December. It has said in the past that sustainable development assistance is fundamental to Sweden and the EU’s credibility in the climate negotiations.

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