Four Possible Futures for the Swedish Energy System

Different driving forces for the role of energy in society lead to different types of energy systems. External factors such as global warming and digitalisation will have great effect on the development of the Swedish energy system. In the report "Four Futures - the energy system beyond 2020", a comprehensive analysis shows four possible scenarios for the future energy system in Sweden.

With four scenarios, using names from the world of music, Forte, Legato, Espressivo and Vivace, the Swedish Energy Agency provides a starting point for a modern energy dialogue. We set course for the year 2035 and also look ahead to the year 2050.

- Our scenarios clearly show that energy is not an isolated issue but is part of a context in which we think about other social issues such as transport, housing, jobs, growth and the environment, says the Swedish Energy Agency's Director General Erik Brandsma.

The four futures:

• In Forte (forceful), it is important that society ensures that energy prices are low, especially for industry. Welfare is based on economic growth and the availability of jobs in traditional industry. Secure supply and access to energy is also one of Forte's main priorities.

• Legato (tied together), involves reducing the energy system's environmental impact and helping to resolve a global issue. Important factors here are ecological sustainability and global justice, which characterise its solutions.

• Espressivo (expressive), is very much based on people's own initiatives and consumers who want to have individual solutions and flexibility. Here, green energy is a strong driving force. Decentralisation, small-scale private production and purchasing services are important elements.

• Vivace (lively), has a strong climate focus. Sweden has chosen to become a forerunner in green growth and develops the export market for environmental clean technology and a new bioindustry. This entails an investment in new types of jobs.

- We now have a broad knowledge base that we hope will be used in a dialogue in the whole society. We have already drawn some key conclusions and hope that more people will take part in the continuing discussion, says Erik Brandsma.

Some of the key findings:

• Regional and spatial planning has great impact on future energy demand. The coordinated planning of infrastructure and building is of utmost importance for being able to fully adapt to a sustainable society.

• Sweden has good potential for producing electricity with low emissions and at low costs, thanks to favourable access to natural resources.

• The transport sector gains a stronger connection to other energy sectors due to increased electrification of the vehicle fleet, establishment of electric roads and greater use of biofuels.

• Research and Innovation for a globally sustainable future is fundamental.

• Meeting the UN's global sustainable development goals is strongly dependent on the development of the energy system- our future scenarios clearly show how developments affect the ability to meet the UN's sustainability goals in Sweden by 2030.

• Robust measures are needed to achieve the climate goals. All the scenarios reduce emissions compared with today, but it is only two scenarios, Legato and Vivace, that reduce them sufficiently to fulfil the global climate agreements on reduced emissions by 2050 in accordance with the interim report of the All-Party Committee on Environmental Objectives. These scenarios include robust measures, large investments and a major transition from the society we have today.