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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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