OPINION: Denmark should do more for environmentally-friendly electric transport

Denmark, a country committed to sustainable energy, lacks legislative commitment to CO2-free transport, argues our guest columnist Kristian Gosvig.

OPINION: Denmark should do more for environmentally-friendly electric transport
Photo: Urbanwheel

Denmark is known to be on the forefront of technology in a lot of different aspects. The country produces more renewable energy than it uses, yet in some aspects the legislation for the country does not at all seem to favour a future with less CO2.

For several years, Denmark has subsidised electric cars, thereby promoting the shift towards more CO2-neutral transport. 

In 2015, the government announced that these subsidies would be phased out over the next couple of years. As a result, sales of electric cars for the first quarter of 2017 dropped to just 25 percent of sales for the same period the year before. 

The growth of electric cars has ground to a halt, and it seems that Denmark in general is not very fond of electric transport. When it comes to personal transport, there seems to be a trend towards more and more types of vehicles running on electricity, particularly with the rapid increase in battery technology over the last few years. 

A lot of electric bikes have been made illegal, in a country that is otherwise known for its bicycle-friendly culture.

Now let's be real about it, people will ride their bikes in Denmark whatever happens. But electric innovations such as segboards and hoverboards have been made illegal completely regardless of their specifications. 

Photo: Urbanwheel

Electric scooters are either illegal or need to be registered with Denmark's Traffic Authority (Trafikstyrelsen) as an actual scooter if they are capable of speeds of over 15 kilometres per hour

All of these modes of transport are innovations that could encourage people to use their petrol powered vehicle less, but they are forbidden. 

Neither does a comparison between Denmark and the rest of the world on this issue show it in a favourable light.

The other Scandinavian countries have all made more accommodating legislation for electric personal transport then Denmark. 

READ ALSO: Half of new cars in Norway now electric or hybrid

A country like Spain, that has huge potential to use solar energy, yet no real desire to make the shift swiftly, has made the above-mentioned vehicles completely legal. 

They don’t seem to endanger the streets any more than pedestrians, and in Barcelona, recently-introduced regulations apply only to the beach promenade, a measure taken primarily to protect tourists rather than due to any real concern about the electric vehicles. 

In the rest of Spain, the different electric forms of transport are completely legal. 

The irony of all of this is, of course, that Denmark is in general a green country, capable of producing over 100 percent of its of its energy use from wind, and with a tangible interest in being at the forefront of green technology. 

READ ALSO: Copenhagen agrees plan for multimillion spend on 28,000 new trees

Yet it seems that on some very fundamental areas Denmark is lacking behind countries that it normally would be embarrassed to compare itself with – at least when it comes to taking initiative for a greener tomorrow. 

Kristian Gosvig writes on behalf of


Denmark and Baltic countries plan ‘seven times more’ offshore wind energy

Denmark and other nations bordering the Baltic Sea will announce on Tuesday a plan to dramatically boost offshore wind energy by 2030. 

Denmark and Baltic countries plan 'seven times more' offshore wind energy

Today, just under 3 gigawatts are generated in the Baltic Sea, about half of which is Danish energy. An additional 1,100 to 1,700 offshore wind turbines will be needed to bring the total energy capacity to nearly 20 gigawatts in 2030.

A joint agreement to reach these levels in coming years is to be announced by participating countries on Tuesday, according to newspaper Politiken.

The newspaper reports a draft declaration it has seen in relation to the agreement, which will be presented at a summit at the Danish prime minister’s residence, Marienborg, north of Copenhagen on Tuesday.

READ ALSO: Denmark keen to join with Baltic countries on wind energy

Should the amount of additional energy reported by Politiken be produced, as many as 22 to 30 million households could see their energy needs covered by wind power.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen talked up the importance of wind power in comments to Politiken.

“The war in Ukraine and climate change are being met with now. We have two crises on the table at the same time. We need to speed up green energy conversion and we need to free ourselves from Russian fossil fuels,” she said.

Frederiksen is participating in the summit on behalf of Denmark. Senior officials and leaders and from Germany, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and the EU Commission will also attend.

The summit was earlier scheduled to take place on Denmark’s Baltic island Bornholm but was moved due to a strike at Bornholm’s airport, which was not resolved until late on Monday.

A total of 2.8 gigawatts of wind power are currently produced in the Baltic Sea according to the Danish energy ministry.

Potentially, that could be increased to 93 gigawatts by 2050, an EU Commission assessment has found.

Earlier this year, Frederiksen hosted a green energy summit in western Danish city Esbjerg, at which the government signed an agreement with Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany for a ten-fold increase of offshore wind power capacity in the North Sea to 150 gigawatts by 2050.

On Monday, the Danish parliament voted through plans to increase production wind energy at a wind turbine park off Bornholm from 2 to 3 gigawatts. The facility will be connected to Germany.