World Bioenergy 29 maj 2012
Anna-Karin Hatt, It- och energiminister
The route to a sustainable Sweden
Check against delivery!
Bioenergy has been an ancient and vital source for mankind for thousands of years.
In Sweden, our ancestors survived a harsh climate by burning wood - and we went on doing so as we became a modern nation. More than a hundred years ago bio-energy was essential to Sweden's industrialisation.
Today bio energy is still a vital part of our energy mix. One third of our energy is derived from biofuels. Alongside hydropower it is one of our most important domestic sources of energy. And in Sweden bioenergy has the advantage that it can still be significantly expanded and help us meet the energy needs of the future.
In international terms, self-sufficiency in energy in Sweden is high. This is thanks to a long tradition and many years of effort.
So bioenergy and biofuels are not remnants of the past. The are in fact vital for the future - not only for Sweden, but for all of us.
We know that our pattern of energy consumption must change. That climate change simply doesn't gives us any choice.
In its latest report on the global energy outlook, the International Energy Agency was crystal clear: the window to restrict the global average temperature increase to 2 degrees centigrade is rapidly closing.
Yet global emissions of carbon are still rising due to our constant burning of fossil fuels. The preferred fuels of our planet are coal and oil. 80 per cent of our energy needs are met by fossil fuels - and global energy use is still growing.
The Swedish government has high ambitions to play an important role in meeting the challenges of climate change. We have set high targets, not least that Sweden will be carbon neutral by the year 2050.
On the road to 2050 we will reduce our emissions of greenhouse gasses by 40 per cent by 2020.
We will increase our share of renewable energy to 50 per cent. By 2030 our vehicle fleet will be independent of fossil fuels.
In recent meetings with my fellow energy-ministers at the EU energy summits, I have sensed a change of mood.
Previously during the financial crisis the mood was too often gloomy. Too often concerns about competitiveness and the security of energy supply dominated. The financial crisis meant too many were pushing climate change too far down the agenda.
But now there is a growing realisation that the goals of sustainable energy supply and of secure energy supply do not have to be contradictory, or opposed. Instead the expansion of renewable energy is a way to strengthen energy supply and reduce emissions.
Security of supply is not just a question of transport routes, interconnections and the availability of energy. It is also a matter of sustainability in a broader sense.
By turning to renewable fuels we will not only reduce our climate impact. We will also make our societies less vulnerable to traditional energy supplies.
If we remain dependent on fossil fuels we also remain dependent on a handful of major producers. 75 per cent of the world's oil is concentrated in the OPEC countries, and the oil market is dominated by a few, large companies. Every day at the petrol pump we pay extra for concerns for geopolitical risks.
What if this dependency could be shifted?
What if we got our fuel supplies from thousands and thousands of producers of green fuels?
I firmly believe this is the future. And I believe this future is approaching faster than we think.
I got a glimpse of this yesterday in Lysekil on the Swedish west coast, when I visited Preem's refinery there. Today at this refinery they make a diesel fuel with a 15 per cent share of renewables from residues from the forestry industry. A 15 per cent share Preem have just decided to increase.
No visitor to Jönköping can fail to notice we have quite a lot of trees here. In fact like two thirds of Sweden, this region is covered with forest. Currently a fifth of Sweden's energy supply is from forest based bio-fuels. We are home to a multitude of companies in the bio-energy sector. And many of the companies here, in Jönköping and on the World Bioenergy display, hold solutions for the future.
The forests and farmlands of Sweden are not, of course, unique. Many countries around the world have great opportunities to increase their use of renewable energy. And maybe some of the innovations that we have developed in Sweden can be viable in other parts of the globe.
The "green" sector is a vital sector of our economy and it will play a far larger role in the future as investment needs in infrastructure, in housing, and in energy will have to be met in sustainable ways. This brings great opportunities for Sweden, and for the rest of the world too.
This is part of the reason why we have all come here. I think the right words to describe this venue, and people like you, would be to use the terms of 'inspiration', and 'hope'.
Here we can see real solutions for a sustainable future.
Here we can meet a multitude of people, businesses, and experts working their hardest, and their best, to bring these solutions into action.
I thank you, from the bottom of my heart,for such hope, and for such inspiration.
So let me wish you all the same, for today and for the future:
Hope. Inspiration. And success.