Sweden Aims to be World's First Oil-free Nation
Using Renewable Energy, Sweden Plans to End Oil Dependency by 2020
Sweden has moved to the forefront of the world’s “green” nations by setting an ambitious goal to achieve a completely oil-free economy by 2020—and without building more nuclear power plants.
Motivated by global warming and rising oil prices, the Swedish government says it intends to replace all fossil fuels with renewable alternatives before climate change undermines national economies worldwide and diminishing oil supplies force astronomical price increases.
"Our dependency on oil should be broken by 2020," said Mona Sahlin, minister of sustainable development, in an interview with The Guardian newspaper. "There shall always be better alternatives to oil, which means no house should need oil for heating, and no driver should need to turn solely to gasoline."
Sweden serves as ethanol model
Michigan, U.S. officials look to small country that has welcomed alternative fuel for tips to help it catch on here.
WASHINGTON -- Sweden has embraced ethanol unlike any other country outside Brazil, and the Nordic nation's example may help the United States in its quest to reduce its dependence on foreign oil.
How committed is Sweden, a small country with just 4.2 million cars?
Last year, it began converting beer, wine and hard alcohol smuggled into the country into biofuel used to power trucks and buses. Many Swedes attempt to bring alcohol home because taxes are lower in continental Europe. In 2007, Sweden turned 180,000 gallons of alcohol into biofuel.
Some vodka distilleries are switching to ethanol production, said Bo Andersson, a Swedish native and General Motors Corp.'s vice president for global purchasing, and some paper mills in northern Sweden are working to develop cellulosic ethanol.
"Sweden has made a major commitment to ethanol," Michael Wood, the U.S. ambassador to Sweden and a Flint native, said in a recent interview in Detroit.