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Electricity from renewable sources has a low environmental impact and affects the climate significantly less than for example oil and coal. Energy extraction from such sources as wind, waves and solar radiation, where no combustion of fuels is involved, gives negligible harmful emissions. Other environmental problems such as acidification, fertilizer leakage and radioactive pollution can be reduced by using more renewable energy sources.

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Buying electricity that is produced from renewable sources can thus contribute to:

  • fulfilment of several of the national environmental quality targets

  • reduced greenhouse gas emissions

  • stimulation of an increased proportion of environmentally appropriate electricity produced from renewable sources.

Also, if more exacting environmental requirements according to level 3 are specified, they can contribute to:

  • a reduction in detrimental effects on biological diversity

  • a stimulation of an increased proportion of environmentally appropriate electricity which is produced from renewable sources in an environmentally sound way.

In comparison with each other the renewable energy sources have themselves different environmental effects.

In work concerned with avoiding adverse climate change, a correct choice of energy source is important. At the same time action must be taken to use energy more effectively.

Market analysis

In 2006, the proportion of electricity produced in Sweden from renewable sources was 51%1. As the electricity market is Nordic, it is perhaps more relevant to note that the proportion of Nordic electricity from renewable sources was 57% in 20062. The production varies every month. Figures from the Central Statistics Bureau (SCB) show that in 2007 hydroelectric production was 65.5 TWh and wind power production was 1.4 TWh2.

Energy source 

 Approx. % of
Swedish production

 TWh  % of Nordic production  TWh
Hydro-electric power  44  61  50  192
Bio-energy  6  8  5  20
Wind power   1  1  2  8

Table 1: The Swedish and Nordic market availability of electricity from renewable sources. Sources: The Swedish Energy Agency and Nord Pool.

The Leading-edge requirement has its origins in the EUGENE Standard4, a standard that is the basis for the "green" electricity criteria used by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC). About 230 power stations in Sweden have today a Good Environmental Choice certificate, about 45% of these are hydroelectric and 50% wind powered. A few are combined heat and electricity plants. About 3% of the Swedish electricity production is Good Environmental Choice certified.

1 Information from the Swedish Energy Agency.

2 Information about bio-power production in 2007 was not available when the criteria document was published.