Sweden's energy‑intensive industries produce major export revenues, and are therefore important for the country's economy.
Although the pulp and paper industry and the iron and steel industry are constantly improving their efficiency, there are still major opportunities for further reducing the amount of energy that they use. The fact that government and industry are co‑operating, helps the industry to reduce its energy costs, improve its competitiveness and contribute to a better environment. This also makes important contributions to sustainable growth and upholding of economic welfare.
Swedish industry is reducing its use of energy, but can do more
Major parts of Swedish industry are energy-intensive. In total, Swedish industry accounts for almost 40 % of the country's energy use. The pulp and paper industry, the iron and steel industry and the chemical industry are collectively known as energy-intensive, and account for over two-thirds of total energy use in industry.
Many sectors of the process industry converts/upgrades indigenous raw materials and contribute to valuable export revenues to the country. Their markets are characterised by strong global competition, so they are constantly improving the efficiency of production in order to maintain competitiveness and profitability.
The base industry is characterised by high capital costs, which means that it is cautious in introducing entirely new technology, as disturbances in production would put companies' competitiveness at risk.
Since the 1970s, Swedish industry has improved its production efficiency at about 2 % per year. Although the total amount of energy used has remained more or less constant, the output production value has more than doubled. Nevertheless, there are still substantial potentials for improvements.
More efficient factory energy flows through process integration
The Swedish Energy Agency's research priorities for industry are concentrated on the energy-intensive process industries, with the aim of reducing the use of energy through various process improvements and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. One research area suitable for an overall systems-related approach is that of process integration, which provides opportunities for making better use of energy. Other important research includes the development of models and economic research concerned with the effects of energy policy measures on individual industry sectors.