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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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.

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