Bjelkeman's travel notes

Travels with the cloud in my pocket.

Sustainable energy – a Swedish energy balance sheet (part 1)

The book Sustainable energy – without the hot air, by David MacKay, professor of engineering at the University of Cambridge, is probably the most sensible book written about sustainable energy I have come across. I am not the only one that thinks that. After the book was published MacKay was appointed Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Department of Energy and Climate change. Former oil bosses, to directors of Greenpeace have said good things about the book. So, I think we can agree that it is a good book. And what is even better, you can download it for free on his website.

Sustainable Energy - without the hot air Sustainable
Energy – without the hot air

by David MacKay

The book lays out, in easy to understand language, what the challenge with sustainable energy is in general and for the UK in specific. He creates an energy balance sheet, of what is used in non-renewable energy today in the UK and how that could be replaced by renewables. It is an exemplary work, which makes it all the more surprising that we haven’t seen more energy balance sheets made like this for other countries of regions.

So instead of complaining about it. I thought I’ll have a go at this. One blog post at the time. A Swedish energy balance sheet and how to replace it with renewables. The Swedish government department of energy (Energimyndigheten), has quite a lot of good research and data online, so getting the data shouldn’t make it to difficult to get started.

The first part is relatively easy as the to me most useful piece that Energimyndigheten has published, is probably the documents, graphs and spreadsheets called The state of energy 2013 (Energiläget 2013).(Even though a lot of data isn’t actually from 2013, but that is how large scale data collection often works. You get old numbers.) It contains a number of useful figurs and data, which we are going to need.


Figure from Energiläget 2013, part of figure 1

(I try to translate these figures into English properly later. But here is what they say).

The figure says: Total use of energy in Sweden 2011 grouped sector.
Left: Transport (90 TWh) divided over: electricity (3 TWh); oil products (82TWh); natural gas (0.4 TWh); renewables (6 TWh).

Middle: Industry total (144 TWh) dived over: electricity (53 TWh); district heating (4 TWh); oil products (13 TWh); natural gas/town gas (4 TWh); coal and coke (15 TWh); biofuel, peat and waste (53 TWh).

Right: Residences and services total (144 TWh) divided over: electricity (70 TWh); district heating (43 TWh); oil products (13 TWh); natural gas/town gas (2 TWh); biofuel, peat and waste (16 TWh).

Next: Converting this the chart to an English chart.

(Edit: Change what the next blog was going to be. I don’t think I will convert to KWh/person/day, as I am not sure that is that useful after all.)


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About Bjelkeman

Co-director: Akvo Foundation

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