Denmark to eliminate fossil fuels

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The ASME International Gas Turbine Institute’s (IGTI) Turbo Expo got underway in Copenhagen on Monday, with a keynote from a local politician which went far beyond the usual platitudes and sound bytes of governmental utterances.


Pia Olsen Dyhr, Danish Minister for Trade and Investment, laid down the gauntlet for the environmentalists by stating that Denmark will be 100 percent independent of fossil fuels by 2050.

(A map showing the high wind energy potential in Denmark. The red and yellow areas have the highest energy content of more than 510W/m2. The purple areas represent 210 to 260W/m2. Picture sourced from Global Energy Network Institute)

In an opening address that was all about climate change, she said Denmark was already a model for the potential of renewable energy, and has successfully balanced a grid that contains 25 percent wind energy. Within a decade, that will rise to 50 percent, she added.

In the same period, there will be a 10 percent increase of biomass consumption, 50 percent of the manure will be converted into biogas and the country will have 10 percent biofuels in the transport sector, all leading to a 60 percent reduction in the consumption of coal.

This isn’t just airy speculation from a politician who knows well that she won’t be in office when the target dates arrive. Olsen Dyhr gave the specifics: 1 GW of offshore wind at Krieger’s Flak and Horns Reef before 2020; another 500 MW nearshore; replacing smaller onshore turbines to bring total onshore capacity up to 1.8 GW.

This is in itself a major investment to be made and will attract companies in the whole wind value chain, according to Olsen Dyhr. “One of the most urgent challenges facing the world today is developing technologies that mitigate climate change. By 2050, Denmark will be 100 percent independent of fossil fuels.”