Archive for January, 2010

Doing your share, and nothing more

January 15, 2010

A Swedish reader of this blog made an interesting, albeit misguided, observation yesterday. He was responding to a blog entry about Swedes who are opposing the country’s ambitious build-out of wind power.

Because Sweden doesn’t release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when producing electricity, he wrote, “wind mills wouldn’t make a difference in Sweden.”

Indeed, Sweden could serve a poster child in the global warming debate. All, but 4 percent of the nation’s power supply is generated by hydro or nuclear power.

It’s true that Sweden is a leader in clean energy production. Nearly all, 96 percent, of the nation’s power supply is generated by hydro power or nuclear plants. Moreover, the country has switched to become a net exporter of energy. This year, Sweden was projected to export 11.1 tWh of electricity, according to a recent forecast by the Swedish Energy Agency.

Clearly, the country is doing more than its share. Conclusion: No need for Swedes to invest in additional renewable energy – at last not from a global warming perspective. (They still have the headache of nuclear waste to deal with.)

But with all that electricity being exported — by 2030 as much as a quarter of the electricity produced by the Nordic kingdom will be shipped abroad, government forecasters predict — it appears those wind power stations are really doing some good. They might even close down a Polish coal plant or two.

That’s what I call doing smart business while addressing a global problem. Now who’s looking smart?