US Ambassador to Sweden unveils clean tech top 50

US Ambassador to Sweden Michael M. Wood unveiled his new list of Swedish alternative energy companies at the New York Green Summit on Wednesday.

US Ambassador to Sweden unveils clean tech top 50

Now into its fourth edition, the list was presented to summit participants and American venture capitalists.

The initial list of 30 ‘clean’ companies was revealed to American investors at a meeting in Stanford, California, in April 2007.

Three editions later, the new list of 52 companies has arrived, creating much excitement within the sustainable energy industry. Indeed, the unveiling was considered of such importance as to warrant the attendance of Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf.

“I’m excited that the list has grown so much, nearly doubling in eighteen months,” said Ambassador Wood in a statement.

“This shows that Sweden’s spirit of innovation is still strong. I think companies also recognize that being on the list is a good way to generate publicity and gain exposure to potential US partners.”

Eight new companies have been added to the list, and while there continues to be a broad sweep of alternative energy alternatives represented, a slight shift is notable toward technologies which improve the sustainability and efficiency of existing infrastructures, such as heat and ventilation monitoring systems.

One of the first companies to make it onto the Ambassador’s list was Swedish Biogas International, a firm which is already reaping the benefits. On Friday Swedish Biogas International, in collaboration with the State of Michigan and the City of Flint, will commence work on their radical enterprise to convert the city’s sewage waste to biogas.

The Michigan project is the first on American soil for Swedish Biogas International. “Our inclusion on Ambassador Wood’s company list definitely helped us to achieve this,” Managing Director Peter Undén told The Local.

“The reason why we were first identified as one of the companies suitable for the work by Michigan State was because we were on the list. We still needed to prove ourselves as the best option, but it was definitely a great door opener”, explained Undén.

Wood’s list was created not only to promote the use of alternative energy, but also to nurture trade relations between Sweden and the US and to present Swedish companies which may benefit from cooperation with American investors, businesses and innovators.

The list illustrates a major achievement of the initiative One Big Thing, a project created by the American Embassy to encourage collaboration between Sweden and the US in the alternative energy sector.

Also at the New York Green summit, Swedish Biofuels AB won the 2008 Swedish American Chamber of Commerce in New York Deloitte Green Award.

Swedish Biofuels AB, a Stockholm-based company which develops alternative motor fuels, is another company seeing the considerable advantages of US interest. The business won a bid with the US Department of Defence to develop jet fuels containing biocomponents.

The Swedish company received $5 million last year in research funding from the US Defence Agency, a collaboration facilitated by the US Embassy, which also assisted Swedish Biofuels in framing it grant request.


Sweden’s parties agree on goal to cut peak power consumption

Sweden's Social Democrat caretaker government has agreed with the incoming Moderates on a goal of cutting peak power consumption by 5 percent as part of an EU scheme.

Sweden's parties agree on goal to cut peak power consumption

Now the election is over, both parties seem willing to consider ways to encourage citizens to reduce power use, an obvious measure to reduce winter power prices that was conspicuously absent from the campaign. 

At the same time, the Moderates are downplaying their election campaign pledge to bring in “high-cost protection” to reimburse citizens for much of the impact of high power costs by the start of November. 

At a meeting of the parliament’s Committee on Industry and Trade, the two parties agreed that both the caretaker Social Democrat government and the incoming Moderate-led government should take action to cut power consumption by between 5 percent and 10 percent. 

“If we succeed in carrying this out on a coordinated EU level, we will be on the way to at the very least halving electricity prices,” Energy minister Khashayar Farmanbar told Sweden’s TT newswire. 

“We stand behind the ambition to reduce consumption,” agreed Carl-Oskar Bohlin, the Moderate Party’s power spokesperson, after a meeting of the committee on Wednesday. 

But he said that meeting the goal would be very much dependent on outside factors, particularly how cold the winter is in Sweden. 

“Then there are questions of how that should happen practically in real terms,” he said. “In Sweden, electricity use is largely dependent on the outside temperature. If we have a mild winter, it will be extremely easy to hit the 5 percent target, if we have a really harsh winter, it might be impossible.”

The Moderates are agreed that the public sector should reduce “unnecessary power consumption”, but have yet to agree on measures that households should take, such as reducing indoor temperatures or turning off the lights. 

At the same time, Bohlin admitted on Wednesday that the high-cost protection that Ulf Kristersson pledged in the campaign by November 1st, may be delayed by the government negotiations. 

“We promised high-cost protection from November 1st, on the condition that a new government was in place rapidly,” he told the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper. “The problem is that Svenska kraftnät [the company that owns and operates Sweden’s power grid], is working to another schedule, one given by the current government.” 

The outgoing Social Democrat government has given Svenska kraftnät until November 15th to propose a system for high-cost protection. The cash paid back to households and businesses would be taken from the bottle-neck income which the grid operator receives as a result of capacity shortages in the network. 

The outgoing Social Democrats have also changed their rhetoric since the end of the campaign .

On September 9th, two days before the election took place, the Social Democrat government framed a meeting of EU ministers on September 9th as a “breakthrough” in the EU negotiations. 

Farmanbar is now describing it as “a process”. 

“What we can promise right now is that we’re going to work as hard as we can to get a breakthrough,” he said.