Energy supply – environmental effects, risks and costs

Posted on May 3, 2012

Today’s symposium at the Royals Swedish Academy of Sciences (KVA) was presented with the following summary:
Life cycle and cost analyses for different energy sources are important tools for designing future energy systems. The results of the analyses depend critically on the many assumptions which are used for the input data but also on the methodology used. During the seminar analyses applicable to Europe with a certain focus on Northern Europe will be discussed. Swedish cost analyses will be presented and their discrepancies discussed.

The abstracts accompanying the presentations of the speakers can be found here:
(The seminar will later be available as video on demand at

It was KVA’s energy committee that arranged the symposium. The preparations had been underway for half a year. Sven Kullander who is the chairman of the committee is also associated with my research group at Uppsala University. For 6 months we have had two Master students who worked on issues relevant to today’s symposium. Anna-Lotta Söderberg och Simon Larsson studied various cost analyses for building new electricity generation and also studied plans for expansion of wind energy in Sweden. I will return to their work when their theses are presented. The concluding panel debate with the symposium’s experts received very good and relevant questions and there was no doubt that the Ann-Lotta and Simon who asked them were well informed about the issues.

The panel debate began with Mikael Höök from our group giving a presentation with the title: A critical perspective on LCA and cost analysis methodologies. His presentation was summarised thus:

Several recent estimates about cost and life cycle impact for various energy sources have been reviewed. Erratic use of terminology, major differences in used data and methodologies can be found. Comparing results from different studies is often very difficult due to these inconsistencies and significant variations in results may arise. This presentation will highlight some general findings.

I am very pleased with my group’s presentations. They represented youth in an otherwise more elderly group of experts.

I think that it is good that the Academy of Sciences is engaged in issues of importance for the future of our society, even if their reports and positions on issues are criticised by some. This is an excellent way to spread knowledge to decision makers – knowledge that is not influenced by various lobby groups.

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