A strength of the Energy Charter's work on energy efficiency is that it allows for an exchange of experience between countries facing a variety of policy challenges. Some Energy Charter member states are only starting to develop and implement a strategy in relation to energy efficiency, and has therefore been beneficial to have access to the experience of countries like Sweden that have long made it a national priority to promote sustainable development.
Sweden's GDP has been growing strongly over the past decade, and while its energy intensity has been decreasing, overall it is still relatively high due to the country's cold climate and the dominance of energy-intensive industries. The country invests heavily in research in order to support technology modernisation and innovation.
A quarter of the country's energy mix is made up of renewables, the rest being mainly nuclear power and oil products. Due to its long coastline, Sweden has substantial hydro capacity and the share of wind power generation is also increasing. The number of CHP and thermal power plants operating on combustible renewables and waste is also growing.
In 2005 the Swedish Government initiated a national programme with the aim to break the country's dependence on fossil fuels towards 2020 by gradually replacing oil with biofuels, lowering energy use and improving energy efficiency. In addition, Sweden is successfully using fiscal policy as a means to promote renewables and efficient energy use.
Nonetheless, while Sweden is taking substantial measures in this area, the Review also notes the potential for additional improvements, for example, in the analysis and assessment of the economic potential of energy efficiency and renewables, and the management of district heating and CHP.
The Review was carried out in 2006 by a team of national energy efficiency experts from Energy Charter member countries - Poland, Albania, Italy and the Netherlands - along with experts from the Energy Charter Secretariat, and in close cooperation with the Swedish Ministry of Sustainable Development and the Swedish Energy Agency. Conclusions and recommendations arising from the Review were endorsed by the Energy Charter Conference in September 2006.