What is the Commission on Oil Independence?

A broad-based expert council that will provide the Prime Minister and the Government with facts and advice in the work to significantly reduce Sweden’s dependence on oil and other fossil raw materials by 2020. The Commission was appointed in December 2005 and will work during the spring of 2006.

Who are the members of the Commission?
The eight members come from the field of research, the business sector and public life, under the leadership of Prime Minister Göran Persson:

  • Christian Azar, professor at Chalmers University of Technology

  • Lars Andersson, former technical director, Eskilstuna, government bioenergy inquiry chair
  • Lotta Bångens, chair, Sveriges Energirådgivare (Sweden’s Energy Advisers)
  • Birgitta Johansson-Hedberg, CEO, Swedish Farmers’ Supply and Crop Marketing Association
  • Leif Johansson, CEO, AB Volvo
  • Göran Johnsson, former chair, Swedish Metal Workers’ Union
  • Christer Segersteen, chair, Federation of Swedish Farmers, Forest Owners’ Association
  • Lisa Sennerby-Forsse, principal secretary, Formas

The Commission staff comprises:

  • Stefan Edman, biologist, author, former political adviser to the Prime Minister (Secretary-General)
  • Anders Nylander, architect, energy expert (Secretary)

How is the Commission’s work organised?

The Commission will work openly, on a broad base, using a number of different methods:

Four public hearings to provide the media and interested members of the general public with current expert knowledge. The hearings will take place in public at Rosenbad and will be webcast at www.regeringen.se on:

  1. 13 December 2005: Will the oil run out – and if so, when?

  2. 20 January 2006: Sweden’s green gold – what potential do forestry and agriculture offer for bioenergy, now and in the future?
  3. 17 February 2006: How can we reduce dependence on petrol and other fossil fuels in the transport sector?
  4. 22 March 2006: How can we reduce dependence on oil and other fossil fuels for heating and power production?

Material will be published here on the Commission website before and after the hearings.

A meeting between the Commission staff and actors who have an interest in the energy sector and are committed to reduced dependence on fossil energy carriers.

Attitudes, problems, proposals and “good examples” will be compiled and presented to the Commission as far as possible.

Internal discussions, where the Commission can also submit proposals to the Government.

A final document with the proposals the Commission considers to be most important for achieving reduced Swedish dependence on oil in the short and medium term. The document is expected to be ready by the end of the spring.

What basic approach characterises the Commission’s work to reduce Sweden’s dependence on oil?

Sweden’s energy use is roughly 35 per cent dependent on oil products. Consumption is greatest in the transport sector (92 TWh, i.e. billions of kilowatt hours), followed by heating of homes and other premises (27 TWh), and industrial needs (22 TWh).

The Commission has been impressed by the relative consensus of experts who predict that the availability of light oil (easily extracted, relatively cheap oil products) will decrease in the coming decades. The reason is the increased demand on the global oil market (from countries like China and India), and the fact that large new oil fields are becoming increasingly difficult to find.

Increased demand combined with reduced supply is likely to mean higher prices for oil products such as petrol, something that could seriously affect households, companies and the whole economy.

The Commission’s task is to propose different measures to prepare Swedish society for such a development, by know-how, technology and economic means. The sooner this process can get under way the better. The transition to an increasingly fossil-free and thus more sustainable society brings with it not only problems but also great positive opportunities for new, resource-efficient development in technology and business – not least in the area of bioenergy (“Sweden’s green gold”) but also in building, vehicle and industrial technology. In turn, this can generate export revenue, employment and, hopefully, new regional opportunities.

Regardless of how great the supply of fossil fuels will be in the future, Sweden must nevertheless have a high level of ambition in the work to reduce its emissions of climate gases. In the Commission’s work, reduction in oil use and reduction in the emission of climate gases are two sides of the same coin.

The Commission considers that oil dependency cannot be broken solely by replacing oil with renewable fuels. Measures to reduce the total use of energy and to make energy use more effective are also necessary.

In the transport sector – which, with its 92 TWh is undoubtedly the greatest challenge – the Commission intends to highlight both technology and use, with the aim of making the use of fuels more efficient. How can the development of vehicle technology be speeded up? What policy levers can more rapidly promote an increasing proportion of fuel-efficient cars and lorries in Sweden’s vehicle fleet? A more resource-efficient transport system is also about how we make our public transport more attractive and better value for money, in synergy with car pools and other means of travel. But it is also about ecodriving, smarter cargo logistics, etc. drawing in part on modern electronics.

In the heating and power sector – as in the transport area – it is a question of using new technology and acting more sensibly in order to retain comfort and a good standard of welfare, while reducing energy use, particularly fossil fuels. How can we stimulate continued improvements in energy efficiency in homes and other premises? Here, too, IT technology plays an increasing role in combination with new building techniques (well-insulated shells, heat exchange, smart windows).

In summary, it can be said that the Commission’s line of reasoning and its proposals are contained in the following four interacting strategies:

  1. More resource-efficient technology combined with more sensible use of such technology. Examples: Fuel-efficient cars and ecodriving, properly adjusted heating boilers, and less time spent in the shower.
  2. Fuel conversion from oil and fossil fuels to renewable, non-fossil fuels. Examples: Ethanol and biogas instead of petrol, pellets instead of heating oil.
  3. Infrastructure development. Examples: Public transport, urban planning, system choice in energy policy (retention of nuclear power, increased use of natural gas, etc.).
  4. Change in behaviour. Examples: Better/more careful use of family car journeys, more effective flow in hauliers’ handling of goods, energy awareness in consumption of food and electricity, for instance. This point includes research, education, teaching, studies in popular movements, local energy advisory services.

How can the Commission be contacted?
If you wish to take part in the Commission’s hearings, please contact [email protected] in good time before the event.

Tips and views in brief can be emailed to the Commission’s Secretary-General
[email protected] or to the Secretary anders.nylan[email protected]

Prime Minister’s Office (email to the Prime Ministers office)

Last updated 09 February 2006