Sweden Presents Plan To Break Oil Dependency By 2020

A Swedish commission presented a report June 28 on how to end the country's oil dependence by 2020 but Prime Minister Goeran Persson, said it would not be entirely oil-free by that date. "We will not be free of oil in 2020. But we will not be dependent on oil in any sector, in the sense that there are no alternatives," Persson said as he presented the report, TT news agency reported.

The commission, created in December 2005, proposed four national targets to be reached by 2020. They are: rendering energy use 20% more efficiently; reducing the use of petrol and diesel in road transports by 40% to 50%; reducing the use of oil in industry by 25% to 40%; and entirely eliminating oil as a heating method for homes and offices.

The report showed that oil products were primarily used in Sweden for road transports, and called therefore for greater emphasis on biofuels and alternative-fuel cars. It also called for energy-efficient buildings to be built and for the forestry and agriculture sectors to be expanded to increase production of biofuels, such as ethanol.

It noted that the business sector and the state would have to make hefty investments in order for Sweden to reach the goals. For example, the report called for the state to invest in more high-speed train connections between large cities.

In addition to Persson, the eight-member committee consists of business executives, energy experts and professors, and includes Volvo chief executive Leif Johansson among others.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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