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ENERGY

KEY POINTS: How do Sweden’s parties plan to deal with high energy prices?

Energy prices are a hot topic in this election campaign, with prices set to remain high over the winter. Here's what Sweden's parliamentary parties propose to help lower prices if they get in to power.

KEY POINTS: How do Sweden's parties plan to deal with high energy prices?
Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Social Democrats:

The ruling Social Democrats list a number of policy points on their website to help Sweden’s consumers lower their energy bills.

  • Introduce high-cost protection against high energy bills for households and businesses.
  • Expand all types of electricity production by providing financial support to municipalities building offshore wind farms, expanding water and solar power production and investigating future possibilities for all kinds of energy production, including nuclear.
  • Cut red-tape hindering production of more electricity and expand the national grid, while making sure that the costs of doing so are not passed on to users. Re-evaluate energy price zones and use energy profits to reduce energy costs for consumers.
  • Encourage and simplify energy efficiency projects for Swedish households, both to benefit society and individual household’s finances.

Moderates

The conservative Moderate Party’s election campaign has had a focus on energy prices and, particularly, nuclear energy. Here’s a closer look at its proposals.

  • Abolish tax on cogeneration (kraftvärme) – a more efficient power system where heat and electricity are generated at the same time – to encourage investment and make cogeneration plants more economically viable and more attractive for power companies to run.
  • Encourage households to cut energy usage by increasing the ‘green subsidy’: a subsidy for investing in energy-efficient technology designed to lower energy use.
  • Introduce a temporary high-cost protection for winter 2022/23, which would consist of the government subsidising “a majority of the excess costs” if “the monthly price exceeds a certain level”, which would be determined by the market situation each month.

In addition to this, the Moderates want to:

  • change energy policy to make a 100 percent fossil-free electricity system possible by 2040
  • invest more in research and development of small modular reactors
  • remove current bans on having more than ten nuclear reactors in Sweden at once

Sweden Democrats

The populist Sweden Democrats’ energy policy proposals are as follows:

  • permanent tax cut on electricity
  • build new nuclear power plants in Sweden and develop a plan for building small modular reactors
  • build a Swedish research reactor to research fourth generation nuclear power
  • increase tax subsidies for transport for those who need to drive to work
  • protect the municipal veto when establishing wind power
  • strengthen the competitiveness of district (fjärrvärme) and cogeneration heating

Centre Party

The Centre Party has the following energy policy proposals:

  • develop plans to double energy production from climate smart energy sources by 2030, of which 50 TWh must be during the next parliamentary term
  • begin discussions for a long-term energy policy for Sweden
  • increase export of green energy to Europe
  • give households with direktverkande el (electric heating) the possibility of cutting the cost of switching to cheaper district heating or heat pumps by 50 percent
  • use profits from the Swedish energy grid to reduce energy prices by increasing cogeneration reserves

Liberals

Here are the Liberal’s energy policy proposals:

  • reduce differences in energy prices between north and south of Sweden, so that electricity is available “where and when it is needed to acceptable prices”
  • limit energy transition so that more energy is transferred from the north of Sweden to the south, meaning that the south of Sweden are not forced to buy at the same rate as the rest of Europe
  • in the short-term, use the power grid more effectively. In the long-term, build more reliable electricity production in the south of Sweden, such as via nuclear power
  • lower VAT on electricity to the minimum level of 6 percent throughout 2023 while phasing out electricity tax which would lower energy costs for a large detached house by 20,000 kronor.

Christian Democrats

The Christian Democrats want to introduce the following energy policy if elected:

  • cut VAT on electricity for the coming winter and introduce a “shock absorber” on energy tax
  • introduce energy policy which “enables the climate transition and ensures energy supply for households and companies at cost-effective prices”
  • extend the lifetime of current nuclear reactors and start the process of building new reactors
  • a Swedish roadmap for a “new generation of nuclear power”, the so-called fourth generation, which would include the question of a Swedish research reactor
  • introduce benefits for reliable forms of energy generation for “their contributions to ensuring energy supply”

Left Party

The Left Party’s energy policy proposals are as follows:

  • introduce “Sweden prices”, unlinking the Swedish energy market from the European market. This would mean setting the price on domestic energy first, exporting the excess energy to current European prices, and stabilising domestic prices at 40 öre per kWh.
  • set a goal for 100 percent renewable energy production by 2040
  • expand on- and offshore wind farms across the country, invest in renewable energy production on the local level and enable public buildings to install solar and wind farms
  • no to nuclear power: decommission nuclear power plants as soon as possible and do not build new nuclear power plants
  • increase transmission capacity of the Swedish power grid, introduce a top limit for power grid fees and nationalise the power grid

Green Party

Finally, these are the Green Party’s energy policies:

  • follow energy agreement from 2016 between Greens, Moderates and Christian Democrats to phase out nuclear power by 2040
  • invest in renewable energy rather than nuclear power
  • increase energy efficiency, build more cables between northern and southern Sweden and build more offshore wind power in southern Sweden to lower prices in the south
  • cover 80 percent of costs to optimise energy usage in apartment buildings and houses, such as by installing smarter technology, investing in insulation and more energy-effective heat pumps, to reduce energy costs for households by 25 percent

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LEARNING SWEDISH

The Swedish words you need to understand Sweden’s cost of living crisis

Households in Sweden, as elsewhere around the world, are feeling the economic squeeze right now as prices rise, but wages don’t. Here's a vocabulary list from Anneli Beronius Haake to help you understand the cost of living crisis.

The Swedish words you need to understand Sweden's cost of living crisis

The Local reached out to Anneli Beronius Haake (Swedish Made Easy), Swedish teacher and author of Teach Yourself Complete Swedish, to put together a list of words you might hear and read in the upcoming weeks as prices continue to soar.

(ett) elprisstöd – literally, electricity price support. The government may choose to provide support to both individuals and businesses, to help cope with high electric costs.

(ett) högkostnadsskydd – high cost protection. There have previously been discussions about high cost protections to cap electricity prices or agreements for the government to cover everything over a certain amount, but following the recent elections, the status of this proposal is unclear.

(en) amortering vs (en) ränta – if you own your own house or apartment, then you already know that these words refer to payments on your mortgage (noun: amortering, verb: att amortera) and payments against the interest on your mortgage. If you’re thinking about buying, keep an eye on these two – and on interest rates (ränta)!

(en) varmhyra vs (en) kallhyra – if you’re on the market for a new rental apartment, you might see these two words pop up. Varmhyra (literally: “warm rent”) means heating is included in the rental price. Kallhyra (literally, “cold rent”) means that the rental price does not include heating costs.

(en) uppvärmning – heating, or heating costs. If your heating costs are included in your rent, you don’t have to worry about this. Instead, you only need to keep an eye on:

(en) hushållsel – or household electricity. This covers the electricity you use for everything in your home, from charging your mobile phone to using your oven.

Energisnål – energy efficient. You might see this word stuck on a dishwasher or fridge if you’re shopping for new household appliances, signalling that it will help cut down on your electric costs. Similarly, you may see the word att snåla (to scrimp or save) used in the phrases att snåla med energi (to save on energy) or att snåla med pengar (to save money).

(en) energikris – an energy crisis. 

privatekonomi – personal finances. You may see this not only referring to individuals, but also to households, where it will be written as hushållens privatekonomi.

hushållskostnader – household costs, again, linked to hushållens privatekonomi, this usually refers to gemensamma kostnader (shared costs), such as water and electricity bills, insurance and internet, but can also cover other costs such as food, hygiene products such as toilet paper, and even mobile phone contracts.

(ett) energibolag, (en) elproducent – an energy company, an energy producer.

(en) elområde – an energy zone. Sweden is split into four energy zones, with the most expensive energy prices in the south of the country, covering the three largest cities: Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö (zones 3 and 4), and the cheapest prices in the north (zones 1 and 2).

Att spara – to save. This can be in the sense of att spara pengar (to save money), or att spara på kostnader/el (to save on costs/electricity).

Att stiga/öka/höja – these three verbs all relate to increases, but with their own nuances.

Att stiga, or stiger in the present tense means ‘rises’, and can be used to describe rising petrol prices.

Att öka, or ökar in the present tense means ‘increases’, and can be used to describe how the price of groceries are increasing.

Finally, att höja, or höjer in the present tense means ‘raises’ – when you can point out that something or someone has raised the price of something, for example, when describing how banks are raising interest rates.

Att sjunka/minska – these two verbs both relate to decreases, again with their own nuances.

Att sjunka, or sjunker in the present tense (literally sinking) means fall/slump/drop, and can be used to refer to price falls.

Att minska, or minskar, on the other hand, is like ökar, because it is used when describing how something has decreased, like your electricity usage might decrease this winter in light of rising prices.

Similarly to sjunka, you may see the verb att sänka (to lower), in the sense of lowering the heating (att sänka värmen) or lowering household costs (att sänka hushållskostnader).

(en) utgift – an expense, plural utgifter – expenses.

(en) inkomst – income. A source of income would be (en) inkomstskälla.

(en) plånbok – literally, this means wallet. Figuratively, it also means your bank account and its contents. Headlines about money leaving your plånbok don’t mean money is vanishing from your wallet, but from your bank account. During the recent Swedish election, for example, politicians spoke about plånboksfrågor (literally “wallet issues”), issues affecting people’s income and spending power.

Att dra ner på utgifterna – to cut down on your expenses. This is related to the phrase att se över utgifterna: to take a look at your expenses, for example to see if there are any areas you can cut down.

Att dra åt svångremmen – to tighten one’s belt.

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