Bjelkeman's travel notes

Travels with the cloud in my pocket.

Sustainable energy – a Swedish energy balance sheet (part 2)

SE Energy balance

So here is my translation of the chart (from the previous blog post) “Total slutlig använding updelat på sectorer, 379 TWh” which in English is “Sweden – Total energy use of energy, divided by sector, 379 TWh (2011)” with added country and date for clarity.[1]

I have changed the colours in the chart, as I didn’t think they were as informative as they could have been and I have made a key for it, which is somewhat subjective.

  • Black: Coal and coke, arguably the worst fossil fuel.
  • Grey: Oil, the second worst fossil fuel.
  • Olive green: Natural gas & coal gas, the least bad fossil fuels in this overview.
  • Yellowish: Biofuel and peat [2], better, but still bad air pollutants. Also the energy economics in some biofuels is questionable.
  • Light green: District heating, better, but is often a mix of biofuels, waste and some fossil fuel.
  • Bright green: Electricity, best, as it can easiest be converted to solar or the other least polluting energy sources. (Even though it is 46% nuclear in 2014.)

So what does this picture tell us?

Clearly transport has the biggest challenge, as oil is so prevalent. The industrial sector in Sweden has moved strongly towards biofuel and peat, but there is still quite a lot of fossil fuel in the mix. The residential and services sector is doing relatively well with only 10% of fossil fuel left in the energy mix.

It is also interesting to see categories which are nearly the same but not quite, like renewable fuel in the transport category, but bio fuel in residential services and biofuel and peat in the industry category. Which sometimes makes it harder to compare. Also district heating could well be run on coal, biofuel or heat pumps, all which have a very different environmental impact. Ideally district heating should be divided instead over the different fuels.

Electricity can also contain fossil fuel use in Sweden. Today the Swedish electricity production is about 46% nuclear, 46% large hydro and the rest a mix of biofuel, waste and fossil fuel (the latter often imported).

Links to the previous posts in the series

[1] Often images gets pulled out of context, through Google Image Search for example, and then it is good to embed a bit more information in the image.

[2] Peat is counted as biofuel in Swedish energy balance calculations, but this is very doubtful as a practice, as it takes hundreds of years to regenerate. So on the time-scales of catastrophic climate change, it should really be classified as a fossil fuel.

Edit: Added link to previous post in the series.

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