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Under the Damocles Sword: Managing Swedish energy dependence in the twentieth century
Philosophy and History, KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science, Technology and Environment.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7285-7455
Philosophy and History, KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science, Technology and Environment.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9687-1940
2019 (English)In: Energy Policy, ISSN 0301-4215, E-ISSN 1873-6777, p. 157-164Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In 1900 a Swedish member of parliament argued that Sweden had a Damocles Sword hanging over it due to the country's rapidly growing imports of coal. This energy import dependence has continued to plague Sweden ever since. While coal dominated imports in the first half of the twentieth century, oil and uranium dominated in the second half. This article examines how Swedish public and private actors coped with the country's energy dependence. Several crises prompted such efforts. Coal strikes in the Interwar years and oil embargoes in the 1970s spurred diversification and collaboration with other importing countries. During World War II Sweden built trustful coal relations with Nazi Germany and stockpiled coal. In the post-war era fear of the international oil majors spurred attempts to increase public control over energy imports, and a state-owned company for foreign oil exploration was set up. Moreover, during and after wars and other acute crises Swedish actors intensified their efforts to exploit more of the country's domestic energy resources. However, when the crisis was over it often proved to be cheaper to import energy from abroad. Thus imports have remained high and the Damocles Sword is still hanging over Sweden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2019. p. 157-164
Keywords [en]
Crisis management, Energy dependence, Energy history, Imports, Sweden
National Category
Energy Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-246495DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2018.11.023ISI: 000457952000015Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85056884420OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-246495DiVA, id: diva2:1297133
Note

QC 20190319

Available from: 2019-03-19 Created: 2019-03-19 Last updated: 2019-03-19Bibliographically approved

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Kaijser, ArneHögselius, Per

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