Denmark to give 320,000 households money for heating bills

Around 320,000 households in Denmark are to be given money to help cover the costs of soaring heating bills after a majority in parliament backed spending on the issue.

Danish energy minister Dan Jørgensen
Danish energy minister Dan Jørgensen on February 11th announced a subsidy for over 300,000 households who will receive money to help pay for expensive heating bills. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

Steep increases in energy prices over the last year have affected a large number of households in Denmark, and political parties have in recent weeks urged the government to respond and put forward proposals for how to tackle the problem.

“We think it’s fair that we give this helping hand because we’re in such a unique situation. We are not used to helping people pay these types of bills,” climate, energy and critical supplies minister Dan Jørgensen said at a briefing.

“We have not chosen, as others have proposed, to give a broad tax break to all Danes. That would result in us helping many Danes with a small amount. The effects of this need to be felt be the people who receive the cheques,” he said.

According to the agreement, which was presented on Friday, the government along with its traditional allies on the left wing, as well as the Christian Democrats, support a deal which spends around one billion kroner on one-off subsidies for households affected by high heating bills.

Around 320,000 households will receive 3,750 kroner under the scheme. Payouts will occur automatically, so eligible households do not need to go through an application process.

Conditions for receiving the support include the home being located in an area with district heating driven primarily by gas power plants, or the home having individual gas heating.

Households must have overall annual incomes under 550,000 kroner to qualify for the scheme.

The political agreement also provides for expedited replacement of individual gas heating systems. Spending on this will be 250 million kroner, which means the total value of the agreement is 1.25 billion kroner.

Conservative parties on Thursday evening withdrew from negotiations over a deal, saying the government was not prepared to spend enough and that too few households would therefore receive funds.

“We have left the negotiations because the amount that was proposed was too low. We wanted a model with a higher income threshold so normal families also get help,” Liberal (Venstre) party energy spokesperson Carsten Kissmeyer told news wire Ritzau.

Parties on the right wanted money saved by the government on sustainable energy subsidies – which have not been realised by energy companies due to their increased revenues resulting from high energy prices – to be diverted to the household benefits, to the total of four billion kroner.

Jørgensen said on Friday that this was not possible because those funds were tied in to other areas.

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

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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