The Road to Net Zero in Stockholm

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The Road to Net Zero in Stockholm

Earlier in the millennium, Stockholm embraced an ambitious strategy that will see it transform into a 100% fossil-free city by 2040—a big leap in its fight to achieve net-zero status. Learn more about the road to net zeroin Stockholm.

Officially called The Strategy for a Fossil-Fuel-Free Stockholm, it reveals a profound commitment to the Paris Agreement. The latter has a myriad of long-term goals to strive for, including limiting the temperature increase to 1.5º, climate neutrality, and transparency, and Stockholm has already set the wheels in motion to achieve them. As reported by Stockholm’s City Council, eliminating fossil fuels requires smart technology and reduced energy demands. Freedom from fossil fuels not only requires the city to designate specific responsibilities to municipal committees and boards, but also requires close collaboration with residents, companies, and various public sector bodies.

The Road to Net Zero in Stockholm
Hydropower and bioenergy are Stockholm’s most potent renewable energy sources

High Energy, Low Emissions

Sweden as a whole has a rich supply of moving water and biomass, which contributes to its high percentage of renewable energy. Hydropower and bioenergy are its most potent renewable energy sources, with hydropower being used mainly for electricity and bioenergy for heating. Swedish people consume significant energy per capita, yet its emissions are significantly lower than those of other countries. In 2022, around 19% of its electrical energy came from windmills and combined heat and power plants (CHP) produced a further 9% of its energy needs. In Stockholm alone, around 80% of buildings are heated by district heating obtained from CHP plants. These CHPS rely on biofuels, waste, coal, electricity from sea and wastewater, and only a tiny percentage of fossil oil. The City of Stockholm has taken many additional measures in terms of sustainable energy use. It is advocating for legal reform, implementing a district heating system that reduces overall emissions dramatically, collaborating with various entities to replace fossil oils with renewable fuels, and imposing energy consumption ceilings in new builds.

The Road to Net Zero in Stockholm, article continues below image.

The Road to Net Zero in Stockholm
In 2022, around 19% of its electrical energy came from windmills and combined heat and power plants (CHP) produced a further 9% of the capital’s energy needs.

Sustainable Heating and Cooling

Many homes are also embracing passive cooling and heating techniques, relying on items like screens that block out the sun’s heat. Moreover, passive homes are being built without conventional heating, keeping inhabitants warm via the heat given off by themselves and their electrical appliances. Residents are also encouraged to keep their electrical appliances and equipment in good working order, to avoid energy wastage. Something as simple as the wrong static pressure levels in HVAC systems can lead to systems overworking, consuming more energy, and breaking down. This leads not only to higher energy bills, but also to the need to purchase new equipment that has broken down, thus leading to wasted resources. In this sense, the commitment of individual residents is key in ensuring that Stockholm sticks to its lofty sustainability goals.

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Related: The World’s Largest Wood City – in Sweden
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Eco-Friendly Transport

The City of Stockholm is also famed for its green transport system. Currently, its commuter and local trains and meteor run on 100% electricity from renewable sources, and buses are powered by renewable fuels. In fact, this goal was achieved as far back as 2017, while many other European cities are still relying on fossil fuels. Stockholm’s upcoming goals for 2030 are even more ambitious; the City aims to have fossil-free maritime traffic, cut emissions by 75% compared to 2009, and use 15% less energy per passenger kilometre than was used in 2011. The City has also expressed interest in an electric bus system, and inspiration for electric transport can be found in the Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) system, developed by a Chinese company and already holding sway in cities across the globe. This system is essentially a fully electric train-bus hybrid that doesn’t run on tracks but, rather, on a virtual track painted on the road. It offers a smooth, train-like ride without the need for major expenditure on the construction of railways.

The Road to Net Zero in Stockholm, article continues below image.

The Road to Net Zero in Stockholm
Stockholm is one of Europe’s most forward-looking cities in terms of eco-friendly living.

Other Initiatives

The City of Stockholm has been proactive in a myriad of areas, including reducing air pollution through the expanded district heating network. It is also working on reducing noise, embracing initiatives such as facade insulation for the most vulnerable homes and the replacement of current road surfaces with lower-noise versions. Many plans have also been undertaken to improve water quality, reduce waste, and minimize the use of chemicals to foster the emergence of a non-toxic Stockholm.

Stockholm is one of Europe’s most forward-looking cities in terms of eco-friendly living. It has made major strides in terms of energy heating and transport. Moreover, it has a plethora of plans underway to improve the well-being not only of the Plant but also of the residents who call Stockholm home.

The Road to Net Zero in Stockholm
Karoline Gore

The Road to Net Zero in Stockholm, written dedicatedly for Daily Scandinavian by Karoline Gore. Karoline is a freelance writer from Stoke on Trent in the UK who left the corporate grind when she started a family and has never looked back. She enjoys contributing to a range of online publications on the topics that are important to her.

Feature image (on top): © Nicholas Doherty / Unsplash

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