Danish opposition calls for action over high energy prices

The leader of the opposition Liberal party, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, has urged the government to call negotiations over high energy prices which could see hefty bills for many households across Denmark.

Opposition parties have called for the Danish government to help homes hit by high energy bills.
Opposition parties have called for the Danish government to help homes hit by high energy bills. File photo: Kristian Djurhuus/Ritzau Scanpix

Ellemann-Jensen on Thursday sent a letter to Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen requesting the talks.

“A lot of people are now seeing dramatic price increases on heating and electricity which unfortunately make it much more expensive to be a Dane,” Ellemann-Jensen said.

“This is a problem we must take seriously and we should start by looking at our electricity taxes, which are too high,” he added.

READ ALSO: Why some homes in Denmark are more affected by rocketing heating bills

Two other conservative parties on Friday also called for the government to tackle high energy prices.

According to both the Conservative party and the Danish People’s Party, billions saved by the government as a result of high energy prices should be reinvested on compensating people worst affected by expensive energy bills, such as pensioners and people with low incomes.

“We have an acute problem with very high energy prices at the moment. There is money in the system because the government has at least 2.7 billion (kroner) it has not used because of the high energy prices,” Conservative spokesperson for energy Katarina Ammitzbøll said.

“Some of those funds can be given back to members of the public or businesses worst affected,” she said.

The savings referred to by Ammitzbøll relate to government subsidies for sustainable energy companies, which have not been paid out because the companies’ revenues are high due to increased energy process.

“The state is saving a lot of money because of the high electricity taxes since that means support does not have to be paid to sustainable energy. We think that the money saved by the state should be given as a price subsidy in particular to people who are worst affected by high electricity and heating prices,” Morten Messerschmidt, who has the equivalent role with the Danish People’s Party, said.

The interest organisation for the energy sector, Dansk Energi, said in October 2021 that the government would save three billion kroner that year due to high energy prices.

Energy minister Dan Jørgensen said that initial discussion of the matter would take place next week.

“The government takes increasing electricity prices seriously and had followed them with increasing concern,” Jørgensen said in a written comment.

Amitzbøll and Messerschmidt both said action should have been taken sooner.

READ ALSO: In numbers: Increasing inflation makes life in Denmark more expensive

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Denmark and three other EU nations want to increase North Sea wind power tenfold by 2050

EU members Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium on Wednesday said they wanted to increase their North Sea wind power capacity tenfold by 2050 to help the bloc achieve its climate goals and avoid Russian hydrocarbons.

Denmark and three other EU nations want to increase North Sea wind power tenfold by 2050

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the plan would mean the four countries would “deliver more than half of all offshore wind needed to reach climate neutrality in the European Union”.

The increase would make the North Sea “the green power plant of Europe”, she told a news conference in the port of Esbjerg in western Denmark.

“Setting a vision is not enough, we will make it happen,” Frederiksen added, flanked by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, Dutch premier Mark Rutte and Belgian leader Alexander De Croo.

The countries’ goal is to raise wind power capacity fourfold to 65 gigawatts by 2030 and then tenfold to almost 150 gigawatts by 2050.

They said 150 gigawatts of offshore wind power would supply 230 million homes with electricity.

Such a capacity would amount to 15,000-20,000 wind turbines, based on the most powerful ones currently on the market.

The announcement comes as the European Commission presented a plan to accelerate the development of renewable energy worth 210 billion euros ($220 billion) to reduce the bloc’s dependence on Russian gas as quickly as possible.

The European Union has already said it will end imports of Russian coal by August.

An embargo on Russian oil as part of a sixth sanctions package against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine is proving more contentious after Hungary raised objections.

The commission has said it wants to reduce purchases of Russian gas by two-thirds this year and completely before 2030.

On Wednesday it proposed to increase the proportion of renewable energies in the bloc’s energy mix from 40 percent to 45 percent by 2030.

The 27-nation EU aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

READ ALSO: Danish offshore wind could help Europe ditch fossil fuels