Doing nothing is not an option
Bo Normark is Chairman of IVA’s new project, Electricity Crossroads. He’s a member of IVA, and was CEO of Power Circle and Vice Chairman of the Swedish Coordination Council for Smart Grids. He has also had a long career within ABB.
“It actually started with the IVA project Energy Crossroads, which had a big impact on the energy policy debate going on in 2009. Now it’s time again. With the upcoming Energy Commission and the need for a long-term energy agreement, we think the timing of the launch of Electricity Crossroads is perfect.
Sweden is one of the most electrified countries in the world – a third of the energy we use comes from electricity. This has led to the development of a climate-smart energy system with low energy prices, which has been good for competitiveness and personal finances. But now Sweden must expand and reconstruct its electricity system because large parts of our energy production need to be replaced and because the way we use electricity is changing. Doing nothing is not an option. The Electricity Crossroads project will provide factual information to help in choosing financially sound and sustainable solutions.
What does an investment in Electricity Crossroads mean for Sweden?
“Sweden has a long tradition of pragmatic cooperation between the political sphere, industry and science on important issues affecting our future. Energy is of course one of the crucial issues. But it has also resulted in deadlock in the political debate.
“The vision is for Sweden to have a sustainable electricity system beyond 2030 providing an efficient and secure supply of electricity at competitive prices.”
“We believe that this is a good time to find better solutions through a more fact-based debate. The vision is for Sweden to have a sustainable electricity system beyond 2030 providing an efficient and secure supply of electricity at competitive prices. And for us to build on our highly successful electrification strategy.”
What does the work process for Electricity Crossroads look like?
IVA has a long and successful tradition of running projects that produce factual information on important social issues. This was most recently represented by projects like Energy Crossroads and An Energy Efficient Society. Electricity Crossroads has an exceptionally large number of participants offering their expertise. They are divided into groups and each group is responsible for a specific area, such as electricity use. We have prioritised having as diverse a range of skills and knowledge as possible within the groups. The idea is also for the project to communicate its findings on an ongoing basis through seminars, but also by publishing short reports and, of course, a website.
One very important aspect for the project to focus on is cooperation with the Energy Commission, to which it will provide factual input. There is already mutual consensus on the value and importance of working together. The project will have a direct link to the Energy Commission as the energy policy spokespersons for the parliamentary parties will be members of the project’s policy group.”
What are the challenges?
“Our future electricity supply has been the topic of debate for decades, and in many cases it has resulted in deadlock. It will therefore be a challenge to keep the project discussions on the factual plane and avoid gridlock.
Another challenge that we’ve already had a lively discussion about is how we can avoid the project being too conventional and traditional when it comes to proposing options for the future. This is, after all, about what Sweden’s electricity system will look like beyond 2030.”
What do you hope that Electricity Crossroads will achieve when the project concludes in summer 2016?
“We hope that the project results will make it easier to reach an energy agreement based on wise and rational decisions about Sweden’s future electricity supply. This is vital for the economic development of our country.”