Environmental quality of the Swedish RES-T system

Environmental quality of the Swedish RES-T system

Two publications by Ari Lampinen tell about the exceptionally high environmental quality achieved in the Swedish RES-T sector in comparison to other EU Member States. High environmental quality is a result of emphasizing waste based biofuels instead of energy crop based biofuels, gaseous fuels instead of liquid fuels, pure use of renewables instead of blending them with fossil fuels, and electricity production with low environmental risks. Emphasis on public and cargo transport instead of personal transport gives another positive contribution. This differs fundamentally from the EU wide situation. Low-blend food energy crop based liquid fuels in personal transportation dominate renewable energy consumption in the transport sector in the EU.

Although environmental differentiation in fuel and vehicle taxes and the innovative RES-T supply mandate have been essential, the most important Swedish national level contribution to good environmental quality has been not to introduce blending mandates of biocomponents to gasoline and diesel oil. It has given space for pure RES-T use to develop and to set the national goal of fossil independent road transport by 2030. Within this framework, Swedish municipalities have had the key role in creating markets for high quality RES-T options and increasing their presence there.


1) Qualitative and quantitative overview of the Swedish RES-T system is given in publication "Quality of Renewable Energy Utilization in Transport in Sweden":

Renewable energy utilization in transportation (RES-T) is a long way behind its utilization in power (RES-E) and heat (RES-H) sectors. International and national environmental policies have recently given a lot of emphasis on this problem. For that reason information is sought on how to implement solutions both politically and technologically. As Sweden is a global leader in this area, it can provide valuable examples. In 2012 Sweden became the first country to reach the binding requirement of the European Union for at least 10 % share for renewable energy in transport energy consumption. But qualitative development has been even stronger than quantitative. Among the success stories behind qualitative progress, most noteworthy are those created by innovative municipal policies. By 2030 Sweden aims to achieve fossil fuel independent road transport system and by 2050 completely carbon neutral transport system in all modes of transport.


2) As municipal policy has played the key role in the Swedish achievement a separate publication "Role of Municipal Policy in Renewable Energy Use in Transportation in Sweden" focuses on this:

Municipal policies have contributed to the Swedish success story of renewable energy in transportation both quantitatively and especially qualitatively. Swedish municipalities have created markets for several key technologies emphasizing the most sustainable ones. Local markets have grown into national markets and in several cases they have diffused to other countries forming international markets. Municipalities promote pure and high-blend RES-T in many ways, including:

  • RES-T requirement in public procurement of vehicles, fuels, public transport services and waste transport services.
  • Production and distribution of RES-T.
  • Support for private RES-T vehicles: free parking, access to bus and taxi lanes, congestion charge exemption, access to environmental zones, investment support and tax support.

From point of view of climate change and other environmental challenges, the most important of the municipal contributions is market creation for wastes, wind energy and solar energy as 100 % renewable transport energy products. Emphasis on gaseous fuels adds to the environmental benefits as they reduce both greenhouse gas and other emissions compared to liquid fuels. Municipal policies have enabled companies and private citizens to make a RES-T transition without need to wait until 2050, which is the national target year.



  • Lampinen Ari (2014) Role of Municipal Policy in Renewable Energy Use in Transportation in Sweden. Renewable Energy Law and Policy Review (RELP 2/2014) 5:179-190.
  • Lampinen Ari (2015) Quality of Renewable Energy Utilization in Transport in Sweden. Acta Academiae Stromstadiensis, No. XXIX, Aprilis MMXV, 55 p.