Monday, December 5, 2011

Denmark: New Red/Green gov't aims for 100% renewables

By Simon Leufstedt
5 December, 2011

The new red and green government in Denmark wants to end the country’s reliance on fossil fuels. In a proposal presented to the parliament last week the Danish government laid out their new and bold energy plan. By 2050 Denmark should get 100% of their energy from renewable energy sources.

The proposed energy plan would have four central deadlines. Under the new plan the government wants to see Denmark generate 52% of its energy from renewable sources, such as wind power, as early as 2020. This target alone would cut Denmark’s greenhouse gas emissions with 35% based on 1990 levels. By 2030 all coal-fired power plants in Denmark will be phased out and replaced by biomass and other renewable energy sources. And in 2035 the Danish government expects that all of the country’s power and heat will come from renewable energy sources. And if their plan is followed, the country’s entire energy supply could come from renewables in 2050.

Denmark’s climate minister, Martin Lidegaard, said that the new energy plan is designed to combat the climate crisis, the country’s current economic crisis and future resource crisis at the same time.
“We want to address all three crises at once. It doesn’t make any sense to solve the economic crisis if that affects the climate crisis and vice versa.”
According to estimates the energy plan will cost Denmark 5.6 billion crowns, or about $1 billion, in additional spending in 2020.
“The conclusion being it has a cost to make a green transformation, but it also has a cost not to do it. I think this will work out to be the best insurance Denmark has ever (bought),” Lidegaard said.
Denmark may already be a world leader when it comes to wind energy, which supplies the country with around 20% of its energy, but these targets will still be difficult to reach. Fossil fuels remain a large part of the country’s energy portfolio, accounting for approximately two thirds of the total production. Last year 44% of the energy generated in Denmark came from coal-powered plants.

But still faced with this I am confident that Denmark’s energy plan is very much achievable. Truthfully, it must be a success. And since neighboring country Sweden has lost the will to lead, Europe badly needs a new climate leader. And hopefully the new socialistic government in Denmark wants to take that on that role. Next year Denmark will take over the presidency of the European Union. It will be during these six months that we will see if Denmark is serious about promoting ambitious climate policies and targets for all of Europe.

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