Today dr.dk reports that all parties in the Danish parliament have sealed an ambitious deal on energy infrastructure and development in the country.
The fight to be greener
A month ago, I wrote about the ruling party Venstre launching its energy initiative called “Energy — for a green Denmark,” to which the opposition party Socialdemokratiet replied one week later with a much more ambitious plan with the confident name “Denmark will once again be a green superpower.”
Since the general national election is to be held a year from now, I was pleased to witness this fight over who is greener, since that would be a first ever as a theme in the elections. However, now it seems the fight is over before it even began, because to everyone’s surprise, all parties have just agreed on a relatively ambitious plan on energy infrastructure and production until the year 2030.
A textbook example of politics for the common good
It is not often that politicians get credit for their work, but when all parties can agree to compromise and meet on common ground and lay out a plan that actually has substance, it should be acknowledged. This new agreement serves as a good example of how to get things done — fast. Here’s a rundown on what was agreed according to the Danish ministry of finance:
— 3 offshore wind farms will be built totaling at least 2400 MW of nameplate capacity by 2030.
— DKK 4.2 billion ($660 million) in technology neutral tenders where different technologies like wind and solar will compete to deliver energy at the lowest price.
— DKK 4 billion ($626 million) to be invested in production of biogas.
— DKK 500 million ($78 million) will be allocated yearly from 2021 to 2024 for a market-based energy efficiency grant.
— In addition, DKK 400 million ($63 million) in the year 2025 and subsequently DKK 500 million ($78 million) annually and ongoing from the year 2026 for further efforts to promote renewable energy.
— Electricity taxes are to be reduced by DKK 2 billion ($313 million).
— DKK 500 million ($78 million) is allocated to green initiatives in the transportation sector in the period from the year 2020 to 2024.
— Coal must be phased out in Danish electricity production by 2030.
— Energy and climate research has a goal of allocating DKK 1 billion ($156 million) 2024.
Minister of Finance Kristian Jensen adds:
We have landed a broad and ambitious energy agreement that ensures pace and ambition in the realization of the green transition. With the agreement, we allow Danes to cover their electricity consumption by 2030 with renewable energy. At the same time, we have delivered the ambition of the green transition to improve the individual’s economy and support a sustainable economy. That balance was an important priority for the agreement.
Huge expansion in offshore wind
On the topic of wind, the plan to construct 3 offshore wind farms at a total of 2.4 GW in capacity is just short of what the opposition wanted, and 3 times more than the government originally had in mind. Also, the number of wind turbines on land will be reduced from 4,300 to 1,850 in a few years, but with many turbines being replaced with higher capacity turbines, this could actually increase capacity.
With Denmark in position to easily trade wind power with neighboring countries, this means 55% of the country’s total energy needs is set to be supplied by renewables by the year 2030. According to Ingeniøren, all electricity will be 100% renewable by the year 2030. Heating must be limited to use a maximum of 10% fossil fuels by that time.
Energy spokesperson Ida Auken from the party De Radikale is very pleased with the deal: “The visions in this agreement extend far beyond 2030 and can really put Denmark back on the world map as the nation that leads in offshore wind.”
Minister of energy and climate Lars Chr. Lilleholt concludes:
The government’s long-term climate target is that Denmark must be a low-emission society by 2050 by which greenhouse gases emitted must in turn all be absorbed. I am therefore pleased and proud that we have been able to gather all the parties of the parliament behind this energy agreement, which supports Denmark as a pioneer country in energy and climate. It creates confidence in the development and consistency in the direction.
Indeed a huge step in the right direction, but is it enough? Well, thinking of climate change in general it is never enough, since so much damage is already unraveling, but lets look at the bright side and celebrate the sheer possibility of political consensus in this field. Not something we see every day.
From a strong beginning to a difficult end
Even though this deal is indeed much better than the initiative the government had previously presented, it is not over yet. In a few months the government is expected to present a plan on how to promote green transportation, as well as plans on reducing pollution from agriculture. So, the coming elections may still have a green agenda after all. I would certainly hope so.
On the matter of oil and gas, the deal still leaves room for exploiting the North Sea for an indefinite number of years, which the opposition party Enhedslisten strongly opposes. Pelle Dragsted says his party will “keep fighting for a total stop of extracting fossil fuels from the North Sea.”
So, until then, we enjoy the warmest June in 3 decades following the warmest May in recorded history, and also a current drought that is 5 days away from beating all previous recorded droughts this country.
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