A Swedish Nuclear Future : Using explorative scenarios to assess energy security in low-carbon electricity systems

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för geovetenskaper

Abstract: Positioned within the concepts of sustainable development and energy security, this study evaluates the prospects for Swedish electricity production to assist in reaching both national and international climate targets. The main purpose is to assess the capability of nuclear energy to form part of a national climate change mitigation approach, as well as a viable energy source for Sweden to rely on in the future. Swedish energy security is quantitatively analyzed from a scheme based on the 4 As of energy security and with the use of a two-dimensional decision matrix. Swedish electricity production has a long record of being characterized by high levels of reliability and performance. It is also almost entirely fossil free, a situation largely explained by the significant shares of electricity being generated from nuclear and hydropower. However, current national market conditions are causing a strained financial situation for the existing nuclear power plants. Therefore, this study also performs an explorative scenario analysis on what could happen to the Swedish energy system if certain factors were to experience substantial changes in the years to come. The results from the energy security analysis demonstrate that, in order to facilitate reaching established climate targets, all of the current main sources of power generation are viable to include in a national electricity mix. Furthermore, in maintaining the current electricity production, the scenario analysis highlights three factors which seem to be of particular importance. These are: production costs for different energy sources; public opinion regarding significant societal developments; and rising emissions taxes. The findings also indicate that nuclear energy constitutes a suitable and reliable source of base load electricity and that maintaining a diversified energy mix, in terms of energy security, is a sound pathway for Sweden to follow.

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