"Broad consensus on energy policy needed"

SWEDEN The Swedish government's energy commission, led by minister for energy Ibrahim Baylan (Social Democrats) has started its work and will have just over two years to agree on a future all-party energy policy. "We welcome the energy commission's directive, and look forward to contributing to the forthcoming process", says Vattenfall's CEO Magnus Hall. 

The energy commission, which is now beginning its work, will have a particular focus on electricity supply after 2025. Ibrahim Baylan has told the news agency TT that he hopes to arrive at an agreement capable of lasting 40 years.

The energy minister points out, however, that the energy commission will not deliver ready-made, negotiated proposals for nuclear power, for example.

Differences of opinion regarding nuclear
The government's starting point for the discussions is the energy agreement between the Social Democrats and the Green Party, one of the proposals of which is that nuclear power should be replaced by renewable energy.

The stance of the Alliance is based on a parliamentary resolution from 2010, which allows for the possibility of replacing nuclear reactors with new ones.

"It's no state secret that there are differences of opinion regarding generation - nuclear power, in other words," says Baylan. 

Although nuclear power is the trickiest political issue, he thinks that other issues may turn out to be at least equally difficult. One example is the question of how to deal with small-scale, more weather-dependent energy generation as more and more use is made of renewables.

Long-term requirements
Vattenfall's CEO Magnus Hall welcomes the fact that the energy commission is now starting its work.

"We welcome the energy commission's directive, and look forward to contributing to the forthcoming process. There is currently great uncertainty on the market, and for investments to be made there is a need for a broad consensus on energy policy and the long-term requirements."

Stricter requirements on the way?
When the commission presents its final report on 1 January 2017, it will not be in the form of a single proposal.

"When the commission presents its documentation, it will not mean the end of the negotiations. We will look through a number of proposals, which can then form the basis for the political negotiations which will begin as soon as the commission has come to an agreement," says Baylan. He does not rule out the possibility of the government deciding on stricter requirements for the nuclear power industry between now and 1 January 2017.

"The commission's long-term work must not be allowed to put a damper on what needs to be done here and now."

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