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Denmark to present plan that could end use of Russian gas

A new economic reform plan, expected to be presented next week, could set out a roadmap for Denmark to phase out its use of Russian gas.

A district heating power station in Denmark
A district heating power station in Denmark. The Nordic country wants to reduce the number homes using individual gas heating systems. Photo: Tim Kildeborg Jensen/Ritzau Scanpix

The reform proposals are to be presented at a press briefing on Tuesday following the Easter break, the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed in a statement on Wednesday.

“The proposal will address issues including how Denmark can accelerate conversion to green energy and become more quickly independent of Russian gas,” the statement read.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has already given some detail of the proposal in an interview with newspaper Berlingske.

One element is a plan to convert 400,000 individually gas heated homes to an alternative energy source.

“We must move them to district heating or individual heating pumps where this is viable. We must ensure Danes move away from natural gas,” she said.

The proposal will contain an additional four parts as well as the plan related to gas heating.

More will be spent on developing sustainable energy under the plan, while a tax reform will include a unified tax on CO2 emissions. An effort will be made to export technology that promotes efficient energy use, while the government will also look into the use of increasing natural gas production in Denmark.

The process of converting individually gas heated homes to other sources could take years, according to industry organisations including Dansk Fjernvarme, which represents the interests of the district heating sector.

Around 250,000 of the 400,000 currently-individually heated homes could be offered district heating, according to the organisation.

That would take a considerable amount of time, however, the organisation’s director said after Frederiksen’s comments were published.

“I would like to be able to say that it would take a maximum of five years. But it’s probably more realistic to say between five and seven years before this is complete,” Kim Mortensen, director of Dansk Fjernvarme, said.

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ENERGY

Energy prices in Denmark rise as winter weather sets in

Electricity rates for consumers in Denmark were close to 5 kroner per kilowatt-hour on Tuesday as prices begin to rise again following a drop in the late autumn.

Energy prices in Denmark rise as winter weather sets in

The price of electricity has jumped back to about 5 kroner per kilowatt-hour during periods of high demand starting Tuesday, broadcaster DR reported based on a price calculator from national energy company Andel Energi.

Increased prices compared with recent weeks are expected to continue.

Recent wintery weather has driven people Denmark to turn their radiator dials just as the wind has died down, leaving wind farms idle, Andel Energi functional manager Jack Michael Kristensen said.

“That means we have to find energy for our homes elsewhere. That includes from places like German gas power plants,” he said.

The duration of higher prices is difficult to predict, he added.

“The main thing is that there is more wind. And maybe also more water for hydro power plants so we can get some more sustainable energy for lower prices,” he said.

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The situation is exacerbated because Norwegian and Swedish hydropower facilities are currently underperforming, a Saxobank analyst told DR. 

“Low water levels in Norway and Sweden means their production has not been at the level we saw earlier,” raw materials strategist Ole Sloth Hansen told the broadcaster.

Hansen said that the combination of low production due to weather conditions and high demand because of the winter cold are likely to combine to keep prices high.

Aalborg University professor of energy planning Brian Vad Mathiesen said that although the conditions were not optimal, he expected Danish consumers to be able to continue with energy saving measures that can help limit bills.

“It is certain that when the price gets up to five, six or seven kroner, savings can mean a lot for people’s wallets,” he said.

Danish Met office DMI forecasts temperatures to drop to between 2 and 5 degrees Celsius in coming days, with localised sub-zero conditions.

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