Green initiatives boost pride in climate-smart Skellefteå
Skellefteå is a place to be proud of. Growth is strong andthe green transition has come a long way. But why is so much happening here and why now?
- There are many reasons why Skellefteå has come so far on this journey. One of the most important reasons is the proximity between people. We know each other here and the decision-making paths are short. There is a lot of action and little talk, so to speak. The municipality also has several activities that are crucial to the transition. This facilitates collaboration and sustainable changes can be implemented quickly.
- What drives the development is strong establishments and the transition to a sustainable society, says Seved Lycksell, development strategist at Skellefteå Kraft, which is a key player as an energy producer.
Together with Skellefteå municipality, Skebo and Skellefteå Industrihus, the power company is also the actors behind Sustainable Skellefteå, a collaboration in sustainable community development.
What happens in Skellefteå attracts attention. The place gets attention around the country and often receives study visits from cities that want to see and learn. And all Skellefteå residents can be good ambassadors, because there is much to be proud of here. Perhaps most important of all is the high climate ambitions. A sustainable place for a better everyday life is the municipality's vision for the future. A plan has been developed to reduce and offset carbon dioxide emissions and eventually phase them out completely. The goal is to become climate neutral in eight years.
Climate and energy are closely linked. To achieve a sustainable society, the energy issue is crucial. The green transition requires a lot of electricity that must be produced with renewable energy to be sustainable. Skellefteå has a large electricity grid capacity and there is a lot of energy here. The municipal power company is the fifth largest electricity producer in the country and most of the electricity comes from hydropower, wind power and combined heat and power. Many interesting investments are being made in its own companies, where things like aviation, the port and public transport are aiming for 100% renewable energy solutions.
An industrial project like the Northvolt battery factory is of course significant. Another exciting thing is happening at Rönnskärsverket. The smelter is our continent's largest recipient of electronic scrap for recycling. This is hugely important for the environment and of great benefit to the population. But it is not only the municipality and industries that are pulling in the same direction. Ordinary citizens, organizations and companies are working together to future-proof Skellefteå.
Wooden houses and solar cells
The strong growth in the municipality increases the need for housing. New blocks are being built in the city center that will be equipped with solar cells and other sustainable energy solutions. Proximity to services and beautiful nature, good pedestrian and cycle paths and houses built mostly in wood make the area an interesting choice for those who want to reduce their environmental footprint. Another project to increase the opportunities for natural and sustainable housing has been undertaken by the Skellefteå Village Development Council. In one project, they have produced ready-made documentation for building in the municipality's villages. These are available to private individuals, the municipality and building contractors.
Sara Kulturhus is another exciting example of sustainable construction in Skellefteå. The building is made of wood, has a clever climate system and is powered entirely by renewable energy. The building even produces its own electricity.
- Our fine cultural center is a real feather in the cap for the municipality. Just as important as clean nature, good jobs and environmentally friendly technology solutions are places where people can meet, create and experience culture together. Sara Kulturhus contributes greatly to this.
Skellefteå Bus has significantly reduced emissions by using more biogas, electricity and green diesel as fuel. Last year, six emission-free vehicles powered by renewable electricity were purchased. Energy consumption is eighty percent lower than for equivalent diesel buses. The journey is also quiet and pleasant but as safe and comfortable as before.
Those who need can rent Skellefteå Kraft's company cars in an electric car pool, during the evening, night and early morning when the vehicles would otherwise be unused. The municipality wants to make everyday life easier for families by creating so-called mobility hubs. These are places where residents can, for example, park to switch modes of transportation and charge their electric vehicles while at work. There may also be a convenience store, parcel delivery and other services. When life is balanced and it is easy to walk, cycle or use public transport, both the environment and our health benefit.
Soon it will also be possible to fly fossil-free. Skellefteå Airport could be the first in the world to replace fossil fuel-dependent aircraft with electric aircraft. The airport is also investing in drone transportation, and this autumn a new round-trip route from Kokkola/Jakobstad will start. Emissions will be reduced by initially using fifty percent environmentally friendly biojet fuel in the machines. In four years, the route will be operated with electric aircraft. How we choose to travel makes a big difference to the environment.
Green and locally produced
The basis for change starts with ourselves and in Skellefteå a lot is happening. For example, clothing exchange days are organized here and there are many second-hand shops. It is not only our personal finances that benefit when we reuse, care for and repair our clothes and gadgets. Buying second-hand or swapping with each other also saves a lot of energy, chemicals and water.
One third of the climate impact of households comes from food, so what we put on our plates is important. Choosing vegetables over meat has the greatest environmental benefit. If the vegetables are also locally produced, it is even better. REKO-ring is a growing popular movement that also exists in the municipality. It is a way of buying and selling locally produced food without intermediaries. People place their orders via social media and agree on the time and place for delivery of the goods directly with the producer. One supermarket has also started growing cucumbers in the store and plans to produce salad and herbs in the store. By buying local food, we support the local economy, help reduce transport and reduce food waste. We get really good quality goods in return.
The future is cooperation
Seved is one of the initiators of the Sustainable Skellefteå collaboration program. With this initiative, the municipality wants to help its administrations, companies and citizens to find each other and facilitate cooperation. The goal is for the rapid growth that is taking place to be done in a sustainable way. Part of this is to be seen and heard.
- We want to keep the sustainability flag flying high," he says. "When everyone thinks sustainability is important and fun, then great things start to happen. But most important of all is cooperation. It's best when we help each other. And we are particularly good at that here in Skellefteå.
Tips in Skellefteå for a more sustainable everyday life
- Join the electric car pool (skekraft.se) External link.
- Join a mobility hub
- Shop locally produced via REKO-ring (Facebook) External link.
- Shop second-hand at a flea External link. market, shop External link. or auction External link..
- Sign up for a clothing swap day (Facebook) External link.
- Fly with biojet fuel (and soon electric flights!)
- Start a study circle or climate club to share ideas with others.
- Sustainable destinations (visitskelleftea.se) External link, opens in new window.
- Sustainable food experiences (visitskellefta.se) External link.
- Be inspired by local Instagram accounts with a sustainability focus, such as @kreativitetsfabriken, @virrpannaproduktion, Minimeringsmästarna Skellefteå (skelleftea.se) External link., @vasterdrottningen, etc.