Denmark boosts heating bill help and gives it to more households

A one-off cash payout by the Danish government to families hard-hit by high energy prices has been raised and will now be given to an increased number of households.

Danish energy minister Dan Jørgensen and parliamentary colleagues
Danish energy minister Dan Jørgensen and parliamentary colleagues on March 30th announced extra spending on cash assistance for households with raised heating bills. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

A political majority has agreed to increase the one-off cash injection for homes, raising it from 3,750 kroner to 6,000 kroner.

Over 100,00 additional households will meanwhile become eligible for the financial support, with around 419,000 homes now set to received it, up from the original 300,000.

The decision was confirmed on Wednesday by the Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities.

The acute ‘heating cheques’, as they have been termed, will not arrive in accounts until August or September this year.

That is due to delays caused by IT-related difficulties and the need to pass legislation, the government said.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s energy bill payouts delayed until end of summer

The government and left-wing parties in February agreed on a deal for the acute one-off cash payments to families struggling to pay heating bills amid a major bump in energy prices.

The agreement received criticism from right-wing parties, which said it would help too few people and arrive take too long to come through given it is intended to solve a short-term problem.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24th meanwhile worsened the outlook for energy prices in the short and medium term.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused even more uncertainty related to heating bills and very many Danes have are feeling the effects on their wallets,” climate and energy minister Dan Jørgensen said in the statement.

“We are therefore raising the heating help so more Danes [residents of Denmark, ed.] can receive the money, and we are putting the amount up significantly,” he said.

The parties signatory to the deal have agreed to spend an additional one billion kroner on the payouts, around double the spending set out in the original deal.

In the original deal, households with an overall income of 550,000 kroner annually or less were eligible for the payments. That limit has now been raised to 650,000 kroner.

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

“The basis for this is that we have very high energy prices. Especially for gas. That means that many Danes [people in Denmark, ed.] are under pressure financially,” Jørgensen said.

Political spokesperson Signe Munk of the Socialist People’s party (SF) said that the money  would also help to cover private energy costs next winter.

“We expect that gas prices will still be high in the next heating season in October, and therefore financial assistance must be given,” she said.

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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