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Sweden’s government: ‘turn down the heating to cut risk of power outages’

Sweden's energy minister Ebba Busch has called on people in the country to reduce their heating by 1˚C and halve their use of hot water in order to reduce electricity demand over the winter.

Sweden's government: 'turn down the heating to cut risk of power outages'
Ulf Kristersson and Ebba Busch hold a joint press conference on the electricity situation: Christine Olsson/TT

Busch said that with one nuclear reactor at Oskarshamn shutting down for repair for ten days on Friday, one reactor at Ringhals shut down for repair until February and another Ringhals reactor set to be shut down for repair on the weekend, Sweden’s electricity system was entering a tight situation. 

“The risk of a higher electricity price is greater and there’s a greater risk of power cuts in southern Sweden,” she said. 

She then called on citizens to do what they can to help reduce their power risk to increase the resilience in the system. 

“The risk of power outages reduces significantly if we can cut electricity use by two percent, and that’s about how much we can save ourselves just in the housing sector by cutting or reducing by one degree, or halving our use of hot water,” she said. 

“We need to do what we can to flatten the curve. I realise this is tough. We’ve just gone through a difficult, long, drawn out, pandemic when it was essential we all did our part, and now we find ourselves in another crisis where what we do as individuals can make a difference.” 

“I’m very thankful to all the households who have done everything they can over the autumn to reduce electrity use. It has had an effect on the crisis,” she added. 

She said that the government would continue with its national campaign to save electricity, adding that “every kilowatt counts”. 

Before Busch spoke, prime minister Ulf Kristersson warned that the crisis in the electricity system was “relatively acute” 

Lotta Medelius-Bredhe, director general of Svenska Kraftnät, Sweden’s grid operator, said that it was unlikely that there would be any power outages. 

“This is not something which we see as really looming,” she said, but she acknowledged that there would be “extremely high prices”.

Member comments

  1. Was this emergency repair or scheduled, if scheduled why shut down 2 at once while a 3rd is already off until February?

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Sweden Democrats threatens government crisis over biofuels obligation

The far-right Sweden Democrats are threatening to push Sweden's three-party ruling into a political crisis as they fail to reach agreement over how drastically to cut the country's biofuels obligation, a key part in its plan to reduce emissions.

Sweden Democrats threatens government crisis over biofuels obligation

The party is claiming that a pledge in the Tidö Agreement calling for the biofuels obligation, or reduktionsplikt, to be cut to the “lowest EU level”, should mean that the amount of biofuels that must be blended into petrol and diesel and Sweden should be cut to close to zero, rather than to about half the current share, as suggested by ongoing EU negotiations. 

“We are being tough in the negotiations because of the power we have as the biggest party in this bloc,” Oscar Sjöstedt, the party’s finance spokesperson told TV4. “There is going to be a change at the end of the year that is going to be pretty significant and substantial, that I’m 99.9 percent certain about, otherwise we will have a government crisis.” 

The Liberal Party is pushing for a much less severe reduction, perhaps to a little more than half the current level, where 30.5 percent of all petrol and diesel must be biofuel. 

“We have signed up to a temporary reduction in the biofuels obligation, and it’s clear that that is what we are going to do, but zero is not an alternative for us,” the Liberal Party’s leader Johan Pehrson told TV4.

The decision to reduce the amount of biofuel in the mix at Swedish pumps has made it much more difficult for Sweden to meet its targets for emissions reductions, putting pressure on Pehrson’s colleague, Environment Minister Romina Pourmokhtari. 

Next Wednesday, Pourmokhtari will have to defend the extent to which her government’s policies have pushed Sweden away from being able to meet its 2045 target of net zero emissions when the The Swedish Climate Policy Council reports on the country’s progress towards its target.