Keywords: renewable energy region, 100% renewable energy self sufficiency region, Norbotten County Council, renewable energy in Norbotten County Council.
Norbotten County is the northernmost county of Sweden. It borders Västerbotten County to the southwest, the gulf of Bothnia to the southeast (Figure 1). It also borders the county of Nordland and Troms in Norway to the northwest,and Lapland Province in Finland to the northeast. It is located in provinces of Norrbotten. It covers 1/4 of Sweden's surface, but is sparsely inhabited.
Figure 1. Norrbotten County Council in Sweden
The population has increased during the last hundred years. The population in 2002 was 250,000 inhabitants (estimation). The municipalities are located in two provinces, Norrbotten Province (9 municipalities) and Lapland Province (5 municipalities). Pajala, Övertorneå, Överkalix, Boden, Kalix, Haparanda, Älvsbyn, Luleå, and Piteå are the municipalities in Norrbotten Province. In Lapland Province, there are Kiruna, Gällivare, Jokkmokk, Arjeplog, and Arvidsjaur (Figure 1). The main mode of person travel inside Norrbotten is by car.
Pre-Condition for Positive Developments in the Field of Energy
One important pre-condition for positive developments in the field of energy is that Norrbotten County Council stand together in bringing about effective development groups that can spotlight and assert their regional advantages to the rest of Europe. Players need to be brought together throughout the value chain, from politics to administration, via research and development, to energy producers and manufactures.
Energietekniskt centrum (ETC) is a R&D centre for combustion technology and gasification technology with focus on renewable energy sources. One of the main focus area of ETC is the national research program for black-liquor gasification. It is one of the larger Swedish project which the aim is to develop renewable energy and reduce dependency on oil. Rikard Gebart, managing director of ETC said that within a few years, a third of the petrol and diesel consumption in Sweden can then be replaced by fuel from the paper pulp industry.
There are also other research institute, they are Sicomp and Abisco. Sicomp, pursues research in the field of fibre-composite engineering. The Abisco Scientific Research Station plays an important role in climate and environmental research.
The energy sector in Norrbotten is strong due to the plentiful supply of hydropower and forest. The energy expertise has been built up for those energy in the county. Norrbotten County is well positioned to become a pioneer in the use of biofuels. Regarding hydropower, in normal year, about 15 TWh (Terrawatt hours) electricity is produced which represents around 11% of Sweden's total production of electrical power. With under half of the electricity produced used outside the county. The county has high per kapita energy consumption.
Norbotten's rich assets of renewable energy sources and high-level energy expertise are invaluable. Norrbotten has untapped energy sources inlcude wood fuels, bio-energy crops, and wind power in mountain and coastal areas. Vast areas making it simple to use geothermal heating/cooling and waste heat flow from industries based.
Cooperation and Collaboration in the Field of Energy
Today, Norrbotten County Council is already active on energy issue in the EU's regional cooperation. One example is the County Council's initiative within the AER (Assembly of European Regions) to form an international energy work group. The group, PEGASUS (The Porjus Energy Group for Sustainable Society) was formed in connection with an international energy conference in Porjus in Norrbotten, at which researchers and political representatives from twelve countries gathered to exchange experience about renewable energy sources. Norrbotten is taking apart in the work on energy issues within CPMR (Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe). Norrbotten County Council also collaborate in the Barents Region with northwestern Russia, where energy issue are strategic important.
These advantages include solid know-how in hydropower technology and energy research at Luleå University of Technology, which in many fields is at the global cutting edge, state of the art technology for combustion of biofuels, refined system solutions for linking energy sources in an optimal way, a large number of small scale innovators, skilled manufactures of energy products, and a population interested in environmental and energy issues.
Occupation in the Energy Field
There are high proportion of energy-dependent companies and operations in the county. According to previous industrial estimates by Statistics Sweden, over 4,000 people of 250,000 inhabitants earn their livelihood in the energy sector in Norrbotten. It means that production, distribution, sales, and consumption of energy produced in the county are highly significant employment factors. One example of the enormous potential for new jobs is the county's ability to utilize bio-energy.
School Project "Grasping of Climate in Theory and Practice"
The starting point was when the Swedish government presented a proposition in 2001. The aim was to bring together all the Swedish, EU, and international climate policy related measures in a single national climate strategy. According to the government, the objective was to bring about an active climate policy that would involve the entire society. The proposition pointed to the climate issue as one of the largest global environmental problems. The necessity for individual efforts - not least among young people - was emphasized as the importance of international co-operation.
A lot of activities (Figure 2) have been carried out to inspire teachers and pupils to work with energy issues in the classroom and provide them with tools and ideas, how they can do it.
Figure 2. One of the activities - Exhibitions Grasping the Climate
The project has been carried out during the period January 2003 - June 2005 with a total budget of 852,500 Euro. Funding were obtained from the EU, the Swedish part of the project has been financed through support from the Swedish Energy Agency, Svensk fjärrvärme (a trade association of district heating companies), the Swedish Road Administration, Banverket Northern Region (the national Swedish rail administration), the County Administrative Board of Norrbotten and the City of Luleå. Many other national and regional organizations in Norrbotten (among them, Luleå University of Technology) have also contributed ideas, funding and equipment to the project's interactive exhibition, "Grasping of Climate - a sunny story".
Some results from the exhibitions were:
- The exhibition has really been a success, more then 123,000 visitors during the period of about six month. And the exhibitions are still attracting people long after the project is finalized. In Sweden the exhibition is booked in different cities for some years forward.
- New pedagogic tools were used in the project, e.g. interactive dramas and role-plays with more than 7,000 pupils with good results. And more then 10,700 pupils has been activated in other pedagogic activities.
- Based on experiences in the project an inspirational guidebook for teachers was produced in Swedish, English and French with contribution from all project partners. The guidebook is focussed on that it should be fun to work with comprehensive subjects and for the whole humanity important issues like climate and lifestyle. The guidebook has been disseminated to teachers in the three participating countries.
- Norrbottens Energikontor (NENET) together with Teknikens Hus won the County Councils annual environmental award for the most important work for the environment in the county of Norrbotten for the project “Grasping Climate” in 2005.
Some lessons learned from the project were:
- Most of the teachers who had the possibility to take part in the project (over 1,000 teachers) would wish that they had a possibility to learn even more about the climate problems than the project could offer.
- It is important to work subject integrated with issues like sustainable energy, environment and climate issues even if it is not happening today, but it is a tricky task, and there is a need for development of methods and training for that.
- Teachers also expressed interest for participating in international projects, and understand the importance of cooperation and compare notes between school classes from different parts of Europe.
Energy Efficiency SMEs in Norrbotten
Enterprises in Norrbotten use large amounts of energy. Traditionally, energy prices in Sweden have been very low, so the incitement for energy efficiency measures has been small. Several national studies and project show that when energy prices gradually have become higher the interest and potential for energy efficiency measures in Swedish companies have increased. Studies show that it is possible to reduce the energy consumption in companies with 15-20%, sometimes up to 50%.
Several of the major export companies in Norrbotten are trying to make their energy consumption more efficient. But the majority of small and medium size enterprises have not started this process yet. There has been a lack of competence among consultants in the region when it comes to energy efficiency for small and medium size enterprises.
The project consists of two parts. The first part,”Energy efficient enterprising in Norrbotten” started in August 2005. The second part, “Establishment and market development program for energy efficient enterprising in Norrbotten” started one year later.
Budget for the project is 600,000 Euro. Sources of funding are EU structural fund Objective 1 Norra Norrland, Swedish Energy Agency, the County Administrative Board of Norrbotten and Norrbotten County Council.
Some results of the project were:
- More than 30 persons have received vocational training to perform energy surveys in small and medium size enterprises.
- Two training seminar series, each with three workshops, targeted to present also future consultants/actors.
- Seven new companies have been established, and most of them offer energy efficiency services.
- A regional network for energy efficient enterprising with more than 80 different companies have been created.
- New employments in already established companies that have participated in the workshop training.
- Three pilot studies, two in process industries and one in a tourist facility (Figure 3).
Figure 3. One pilot study was carried out at the tourist facility “Ripan” in Kiruna
- Development of an efficient method for energy surveys.
- Proposal of measures that may result in a total energy efficiency of 1.9 GWh electricity and 15.1 GWh heating, which represents between 3-31% of the companies accumulated use of electricity and between 5 and 84% of the heating demand on annual basis.
- Energy efficient measures have been presented to the 19 enterprises which together can decrease the CO2 emissions with about 7 million kilograms annually.
- The energy efficient measures that have been presented to the 19 enterprises can help them to reduce their annually energy costs with 5,000 to 350,000 € due to the actual enterprise.
- Six kick-off meetings with companies.
- Approximately 30% women among the participants.
- Extensive dissemination of information through printed material, website, seminars, news paper articles, newsletters, etc.
- Public reports from energy surveys performed at small and medium size enterprises.
The project has already received attention, in the region as well as on a national level. It shows how a regional energy agency can cooperate with governmental actors in the field of energy, regional R&D bodies, trade and industry organizations etc in order to step up the establishment of a regional market within an area that is prioritized by the European Commission, the Swedish government and public, regional development bodies.
- Generating power for a sustainable future. http://www.sweden.se/upload/Sweden_se/english/factsheets/SI/SI_FS3_Energy/SI%20Energy_150_26_02.pdf. Accessed May 4, 2010.
- NENET (Norrbottens energikontor AB, NENET, Norrbotten Energy Network) Official Homepage. http://www.nenet.se/. Accessed May 4, 2010.
List of References
- Norbotten County Council. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norrbotten_County. Accessed May 2, 2010.
- Sw-Map. http://www.politicalinformation.net/encyclopedia/Sw-map.png. Accessed May4, 2010.
- Beyond Hydropower - Green Electricity in Norbotten. http://www.google.de/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=3&ved=0CBIQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aer.eu%2Ffileadmin%2Fuser_upload%2FMainIssues%2FEnvironment%2F2006%2FSpeech-Ogren-EN.doc&rct=j&q=BEYOND+HYDROPOWER+-+GREEN+ELECTRICITY+IN+NORRBOTTEN&ei=kcTdS-_HEoqqsAau-LDCBw&usg=AFQjCNENS9rPhllCumKKAv92TX6wGeaD5Q. Accessed November 7, 2009.
- Norrbotten a rich county. http://www.bd.lst.se/publishedObjects/10000502/Norrb_engelsk_070816.pdf. Accessed May 2, 2010.
- Cornerstone of energy and infrastructure in Norrbotten and Europe. http://www.aer.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/MainIssues/Environment/2006/Letter-Norrbotten-EC.pdf. Accessed May 2, 2010.
- School project “Grasping of Climate in Theory and Practice”. http://www.managenergy.net/download/nr232.pdf. Accessed May 2, 2010.
- Energy Efficiency SMEs in Norrbotten - Norrbotten Energy Network (Nenet), Sweden. http://www.managenergy.net/download/nr274.pdf. Accessed November 7, 2009.