Thursday, February 19, 2009

Change to Green at House of Sweden

SACC-USA (the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce in the U.S.) held a clean tech seminar at House of Sweden on February 6th together with the Embassy of Sweden. Speakers from Colorado, Michigan and Georgia stressed the importance of Swedish technology and know-how input to make America’s energy system greener.

Chemrec's U.S. CEO Rick LeBlanc at the Change to
Green seminar. Photo: Hans Sandberg
The seminar, which attracted over 150 people, was arranged in cooperation with the Embassy of Sweden, Sweden’s National Property Board, and the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce in Washington. D.C. The Swedish Embassy treated visitors to the seminar to a special “Embassy of Sweden Edition” of my book Swedish-American Currents.

The "Embassy of Sweden Edition”
of my book. Photo: Hans Sandberg
Besides representatives for the three states, there were speakers from the Green Building Council, Swedish Bioenergy Association (Svebio), and Chemrec’s new U.S. subsidiary. The latter company has developed a technique that can turn a pulp and paper mill into a biorefinery, while still machine paper or pulp. Potentially revolutionary stuff, as it could save thousands of jobs and make many cities much less dependent of foreign oil. (For a full report from the Change to Green conference, see the next issue of Currents magazine!)

House of Sweden, Washington, D.C.
Photo: Hans Sandberg

The secret behind Sweden’s lead in alternative energy is that the country never allowed itself to surf on cheap oil, but taxed it high, which gave room for the alternatives, that now are ready for primetime. Back in the 1970’s, Sweden’s oil dependency was 77 percent, but it is quickly dwindling and should be phased out by 2020.

Hans Sandberg

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