Can an entire city eliminate the use of fossil fuels?
One Swedish city is going to try. The city of Kalmar, located in southeast Sweden, plus the surrounding 12 towns in the region, are trading in nearly all gas, oil, and electric furnaces.
Instead, the residents will get their energy requirements from “district heat” – energy that’s created from burning sawdust and waste wood from timber companies. The remainder of energy requirements will be supplied by hydropower, windmills, and nuclear power.
Cars and buses will run on either locally-produced biofuel made from waste wood and chicken manure or a 85% ethanol blend imported from Brazil.
In addition, more and more bicycle lanes have appeared, trucking companies are teaching employees eco-friendly driving techniques, and street lights now use low-energy sodium bulbs.
A result of creativity and political will, this change couldn’t come at a better time. With the current worldwide economic downtown, the residents of Kalmar and environs are finding that switching from oil and gas is providing economic relief, both from reduced power bills and a cottage boom with the growth in its clean-technology industries.
Kalmar’s goal is to be totally fossil fuel free by 2030. They are well on the way to making it happen.