A Perfect Plan

Denmark plans for 100 percent renewable energy use by 2050.
By Luke Geiver | January 25, 2012

The Danish Government has launched an ambitious renewable energy strategy that will convert its energy and transport system by 2050. Ambitious, in this case, means 100 percent.

For the coming decade, the strategy contains a range of concrete initiatives projected to lead to 36 percent renewable energy use by 2020, according to Ture Falbe-Hansen, head of media relations for the Danish Energy Agency. Milestone dates have been set for the years 2020, 2030 and 2035. By 2050, Denmark will be mostly fossil fuel free. The 2011 energy report noted that the exact optimum energy system for 2050 is uncertain, as there are far too many unknowns.

What does this plan mean for biomass? According to Falbe-Hansen, coal covers about 40 percent of Danish electricity production and nearly 20 percent of district heating production. Coal consumption will be reduced by 65 percent by 2020, he says. “The proposals will replace coal with biomass and initiatives to promote wind power.”

The Danish energy plan will stop any new buildings from using oil or gas-fired installations by 2013, with some exceptions, and also stop installation of oil-fired boilers in existing buildings by 2015. It will also provide funding for partnerships on strategic energy planning in municipalities for better use of resources like biomass.

The plan to use more renewable energy is forecast to cover 23 percent of gross energy consumption by 2020, an increase of 33 percent from the amount used today.

Although the energy plan for Denmark sounds great for the country, the possibilities don’t end there. For the next six months, Denmark will take on the presidency role for the European Union. For Denmark, that means pushing for a Danish energy road map that will fulfill the long-term vision of a low-carbon and resource-efficient energy system by 2050. The goal of the roadmap, Falbe-Hansen says, is to illustrate the need for a common policy to develop European energy infrastructure and a sustainable energy platform.

“It is the responsibility of the presidency to move the work of the council forward and create results,” he says.

—Luke Geiver