Ibrahim Balyan SAEE 2016Sweden's energy minister Ibrahim Baylan told a conference that academic input had been vital for the government's recent Energy Agreement with opposition parties to go through. Photo by courtesy of the Luleå University of Technology.

A conference by Bio4Energy researchers and colleagues on the transformation of Sweden's energy system finished at Luleå last week, with keynote speaker Ibrahim Baylan, the Swedish energy minister, concluding that the recent Energy Agreement struck by the government and parties in political opposition before the summer recess hardly had been possible had the government not consulted widely with academic stakeholders.

"He spoke about the Energy Agreement, but included a discussion on the need for research as a basis for political decision-making", said conference coordinator This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., who represents Bio4Energy's System Analysis and Bioeconomy branch.

The agreement between the ruling Social Democrats and Greens, and the Moderate Party, Christian Democrats and Centre Party in opposition, states that Sweden aims for its economy to have zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and for its electrical power production system to be "100 per cent renewable" by 2040.

The 23-24 August conference, hosted by the Swedish Association for Energy Economics and the Luleå University of Technology (LTU), also heard energy profile Tomas Kåberger, professor at the Chalmers University of Technology, contribute a global perspective and, notably, talking up solar energy as having a great potential of increasing the share of renewables in the overall energy mix. He had pointed to the example of how Germany has kept subsidising solar power installations and how, subsequently, solar panels have become mainstay on German rooftops, according to professor Lundmark.

Other keynotes were former government minister Mikael Odenberg, head of the organisation wich oversees Sweden's electrical power system, Svenska Kraftnät; and Anne Vadasz Nilsson, Director General of the Swedish Energy Markets Inspectorates. In addition, more than 50 presentations on various aspects of the energy system were held by researchers from Sweden and elsewhere, in four parallel sessions.

Lundmark said that most of them had focused on various aspects of bio-based materials as renewable feedstock, of applying system analysis to put systemic change in perspective and on policy developments.

The Bio4Energy programme manager This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.attended the second day of the conference.

 "There was focus on system analysis which we in Bio4Energy see as vitally important for putting in perspective the [fundamental and applied] research which is carried out with a view to aid the transformation to an energy system fed by renewable energy sources", said Boström, who is a chemist and professor at Umeå University.

 "Those researchers do work to help the rest of us see the bigger picture. Their research helps political decision-makers take the right decisions", he added.

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