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Kalmar, SwedenBy Laurie Goering

Industrial community makes change with a minimum of cost, pain

KALMAR, Sweden — Though a fraction of Chicago's size, this industrial city in southeast Sweden has plenty of similarities with it, including a long, snowy winter and a football team the town's crazy about.

One thing is dramatically different about Kalmar, however: It is on the verge of eliminating the use of fossil fuels, for good, and with minimal effect on its standard of living.

The city of 60,000—and its surrounding 12-town region, with a quarter-million people—has traded in most of its oil, gas and electric furnaces for community "district heat," produced at plants that burn sawdust and wood waste left by timber companies. Hydropower, nuclear power and windmills now provide more than 90 percent of the region's electricity.

Kalmar's publicly owned cars and buses—and a growing share of its private and business vehicles—run on biogas made from waste wood and chicken manure, or an 85 percent ethanol blend from Brazil.

Just as important, the switch from oil and gas is helping slash fuel bills and preserve jobs in a worldwide economic downturn. And despite dramatic drops in fossil fuel consumption, residents say nobody has been forced to give up the car or huddle around the dining table wearing three sweaters to stay warm.

See original news item:, Mar-3-2009  
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Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Jun-10-2010)   Web site
You are welcome, Daniel. There are a number of articles about Sweden. They rely a lot on nuclear, on hydro, and on burning of wood and ethanol. Wind is still fairly small, but they are planning to ramp that way up. So, The fuels that they use are considered imperfect (compare to Denmark's heavy use of wind power), but Sweden is indeed moving towards using more wind. Here are two pretty good articles (not comprehensive, but you can start to get a picture of their direction):

2000 New Wind Turbines Coming for Sweden
Bioenergy vs Oil in Sweden
Comment by: Daniel  (Daniel) (Jun-10-2010)   Web site

Hello, thanks for this website...

I heard that Sweden is very far on its way to be completely free of the burden of fossil fuels...anyone heard of that?


Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Mar-4-2009)   Web site

Right - still, I would like to know more about the use of nuclear and the use of biofuel from Brazil. Maybe this part of Sweden is lucky due to a large amount of waste wood products that they can use. Some added analysis of how that compares with other parts of the world, would be nice.

Overall, in any case, it sounds like a step in the right direction.
Comment by: City Worker (Mar-4-2009)   

Entire cities going green --- not shabby at all.

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