Denmark’s Dong Energy to ditch coal by 2023

Danish green energy giant Dong said on Thursday it was pulling out of coal use, burning another bridge to its fossil fuel past after ditching oil and gas.

Denmark's Dong Energy to ditch coal by 2023
The move away from coal comes just months after Dong said it would drop oil and gas. Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Scanpix
Dong is the biggest wind power producer in Europe.
“The future belongs to renewable energy sources, and therefore we're now converting the last of our coal-fired power stations to sustainable biomass,” said CEO Henrik Poulsen in a statement.
Dong last October already announced its withdrawal from oil and gas as fuels for electricity generation.
It said on Thursday it would stop using coal completely within six years.
Coal still accounts for 40 percent of the world's electricity production, even though it produces the highest CO2 emissions, Dong noted.
Also Thursday, Dong posted a net profit of 12.8 billion kroner (€1.7 billion, $1.8 billion) for 2016, after a loss of 170 million kroner the year earlier.
Overall sales fell six percent last year, but revenue growth from wind energy alone rose 36 percent.
Dong's shares were listed on the stock exchange last June, but the Danish state still retains a 50.1-percent stake in the company.
Its shares were up 1.4 percent on the Copenhagen exchange in late morning, in an overall softer market.


Denmark approves plans to build North Sea ‘energy island’

Denmark has moved forward with plans for an artificial island in the North Sea that could generate wind power for at least three million households, a government spokesman said on Friday.

Denmark approves plans to build North Sea 'energy island'
File photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Work is due to begin by 2026, he added. 

The Danish parliament adopted in June a political environmental framework aimed at reducing the country's CO2 emissions by 70 percent by 2030, which included plans for the world's first “energy hubs” on the island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea and in the North Sea.

On Thursday, parliament went further by approving a plan to place the North Sea hub on an artificial island, with a wind power farm that will initially supply three gigawatts (GW) of electricity.

That could later be scaled up to 10 GW — enough for 10 million households — according to the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities.

The island is to be majority owned by the Danish government in partnership with private companies.

Its final size is yet to be decided but it is expected to cover between 120,000 to 460,000 square meters (about 1.3 to 5 million square feet), ministry spokesperson Emil Lee Madsen told AFP.

The total number of wind turbines has not been finalised either, but estimates range between 200 and 600 units at “a previously unseen scale,” with the tip of the blades reaching as high as 260 meters (850 feet) above the sea.

The project's next steps include environmental impact assessments and talks with potential investors, so construction is still some years off.

“At this point it seems like initial construction will actually begin around 2026, and hopefully it will be finished sometime between 2030 and 2033,” Lee Madsen said, noting that some delays were probable so closer to 2033 was more realistic.

At full capacity, the island would provide more wind power than Denmark needs for its population of 5.8 million.

Other countries could then plug into the hub to “increase the efficiency of the electricity production from the wind farms by distributing it across the European power grid,” the ministry said.

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