Guiding the future energy transition to net-zero emissions

Lessons from exploring the differences between France and Sweden

Document identifier:
Access full text here:10.1016/j.enpol.2020.111358
Keyword: Engineering and Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Energy Engineering, Teknik och teknologier, Maskinteknik, Energiteknik, Energy transition, Climate mitigation, Carbon neutrality, TIMES/MARKAL, France, Sweden
Publication year: 2020
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 7 Affordable and clean energySDG 12 Responsible consumption and productionSDG 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure
The SDG label(s) above have been assigned by


Despite similarities in their current energy mixes, France and Sweden's pathways have been very different since the 1970s, when both systems were highly dependent on fossil fuels. After the oil crisis, both countries chose to reduce their oil consumption by developing nuclear power. However, Sweden pursued a more diversified energy policy that has subsequently allowed it to reduce its CO2 emissions. Today, both countries have committed to a carbon neutrality goal: by 2045 for Sweden and 2050 for France. In order to understand the key factors that can drive energy transition toward a carbon neutrality goal, we propose to compare the past energy transitions in France and Sweden, two countries that have significantly reduced their CO2 emissions and fossil fuel dependency. To assess the impacts of the current energy system and its regulations on the feasibility of meeting carbon neutrality, we use TIMES bottom-up energy system optimization models. The results show that France faces more challenges in transforming its energy system than Sweden i.e. an increase in power production, a decrease in gas consumption, the replacement of heating systems in buildings, and the electrification of industry, thus confirming that its energy policy has to be driven with a long-run perspective.


Ariane Millot

Mines ParisTech, PSL Research University, Centre for Applied Mathematics
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Anna Krook-Riekkola

Luleå tekniska universitet; Energivetenskap
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Nadia Maïzi

Mines ParisTech, PSL Research University, Centre for Applied Mathematics
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