Swedish leaders hope to end oil dependency by 2020

| 2/9/2006

In what has to be an oil company executive’s worst nightmare, Swedish officials announced plans to completely end dependency on oil – foreign or otherwise – by 2020.

The Associated Press reported that, while officials in Sweden acknowledge that completely getting rid of oil in such a short time would be close to impossible, the goal is to at least make sure Swedes will never be forced to use fossil fuels because other alternatives are not available.

Sweden’s Prime Minister, Goran Persson, said that the goal will be achieved by increasing research into alternative fuels, financial incentives and increasing electricity production from renewable sources.

Financial incentives will include tax rebates for people who switch from heating their homes with heating oil to renewable resources.

Sweden already has a number of wind and water power plants and a new wind farm is currently under construction off Sweden’s southern coast, The AP reported.

In 2003, 26 percent of Sweden’s energy came from renewable resources. Only 32 percent came from oil – and that’s down from 77 percent in 1970, according to The AP.

Experts estimate Sweden’s biggest challenge will be from the transportation sector. Only 1 percent of the vehicles in the country operate on alternative fuels.