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ENERGY

Denmark announces major plan to replace gas heating in homes

Around 50 percent of Danish households that are currently heated by natural gas will be converted to district heating by 2028.

Danish climate and energy minister Dan Jørgensen
Danish climate and energy minister Dan Jørgensen presents a government plan to significantly reduce individual gas heating of homes. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The target was stated by Minister for Climate and Energy Dan Jørgensen on Tuesday as he presented a government energy reform including a plan for Denmark to end its dependence on Russian gas.

Around 400,000 households in Denmark are currently heated using natural gas energy supplies according to the government.

Up to 30-50 percent of those homes are most suitable for conversion to district heating and will be switched over on a continual basis until 2028 under the plan.

Other homes will be switched to electric heat pumps by 2030.

Danish residents have seen considerable increases in heating bill costs as a result of global energy price increases and the knock-on effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The government is set to pay out one-off emergency funds to households worst affected by the price increases.

READ ALSO: Denmark boosts heating bill help and gives it to more households

“(The plan) is realistic but we’re on a tight schedule,” Jørgensen said.

The minister also noted that the government “cannot force Danes [people who live in Denmark, ed.] to use any particular heating fuel”.

“But I must say that there is very high demand at municipalities and district heating companies to provide options for rolling out district heating sooner,” he said.

Industry interest organisation Dansk Fjernvarme estimates that around 250,000 of the homes currently on individual gas heating could eventually be converted to district heating.

However, some houses are in locations too remote to be connected to a district heating network. In these cases, the government said it sought to find other solutions for replacing their gas heaters, including heat pumps.

Households located in areas with district heating can connect to the network, with heating supplied through pipes laid under road surfaces.

In areas without main pipe lines, local authorities and district heating power stations can agree to expand supplies locally.

According to the government plan, households that currently have individual gas heating will receive a letter by the end of this year informing them of their options in relation to district heating conversion.

Remaining houses unable or unwilling to switch to district heating or heat pumps “must change to biogas so that they still have a gas heater but it’s green biogas, so we can ensure we are free of (Russian president Vladimir) Putin,” Jørgensen said.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen earlier said that Denmark must become entirely independent of Russian gas for its energy and heating needs following Moscow’s invasion on Ukraine.

The government also stepped up its programme to develop renewable energy, saying it now plans to quadruple the number of solar power stations and land-based wind farms by 2030.

Half of Denmark’s electric power already comes from wind energy.

“We want to develop renewable energies as much as it is possible to do itin an intelligent manner,” Frederiksen said.

Gas accounts for 18 percent of energy consumed in Denmark each year. National production accounted for three quarters of the gas consumed in 2019, with Russia among the main exporters of the fossil fuel, according to the
Danish energy agency.

The International Energy Agency says that, in 2021, the EU imported 155 billion cubic metres of gas from Russia, representing 45 percent of its gas imports.

READ ALSO: Denmark to present plan that could end use of Russian gas

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ENERGY

How to apply for Denmark’s 6,000 kroner energy relief if you were missed by automatic payments

Denmark last year sent an automatic 6,000-kroner payout to eligible households in a measure intended to relieve people struggling with high energy costs. People who think they may qualify for the money, but didn’t receive it, can soon apply.

How to apply for Denmark’s 6,000 kroner energy relief if you were missed by automatic payments

The tax-free cash payout of 6,000 kroner was approved by parliament last spring in response to rising energy prices and sent out in August to households which met the set criteria.

The payments were made automatically, so no application was needed at the time.

Households with a collective pre-tax income of under 706,000 kroner were eligible for the one-off cash boosts. Additionally, the household should be primarily heated by individual gas heaters (or have experienced similar increases to bills as such homes) or be located in a district heating area in which the heating is produced by at least 65 percent gas.

But errors in registration data could result in households which meet the criteria not receiving payments automatically, the Danish Energy Agency said at the time.

People who believe that their household meets the criteria, but have not received the money, can therefore apply for it from early 2023.

A significant number of people also received the money even though they did not fulfil the criteria, for example because they had replaced their gas boilers but the registration data on their homes was outdated.

READ ALSO: Up to 70 Danes offer to pay energy money back to government

An additional application round for the heating cheques opens on March 14th, according to a notice from Energy Minister Lars Aagaard to parliament’s energy committee.

“The vast majority of households which are entitled to the heating cheque have received the payment. Some households, which are entitled according to the law have meanwhile seen circumstances which mean they unfortunately didn’t receive the cheque automatically,” he wrote.

Specifically, the Danish Energy Agency (Energistyrelsen) will open a digital application platform via the website varmecheck.dk.

If your household did not receive the payout last year, you can apply for it if the household’s overall income in 2020 was less than 650,000 kroner (after the AM-bidrag tax contribution is deducted).

Application must be made within an eight-week window. You can enter your email address on the varmecheck website to receive a reminder when the application round opens.

“Reasons that households have not received the cheque automatically could for example be that there was data missing or not sufficiently ready for an automatic payment to happen, [or] that the oldest person in the household didn’t have a Nemkonto [designated bank account, ed.] for the money to be paid into,” Aagaard wrote in the parliamentary note.

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