Danish offshore wind could help Europe ditch fossil fuels

Leaders from Denmark, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands were scheduled to convene in Danish town Esbjerg on Wednesday to discuss details of an ambitious sustainable energy plan.

File photo of wind turbines
File photo of wind turbines. An ambitious plan could see Denmark provide wind power to millions of European homes. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

The four countries will discuss a plan to increase offshore wind energy in the North Sea to at least 150 gigawatts by 2050, newspaper Jyllands-Posten reported on Tuesday.

That power could provide green energy to as many as 230 million households in Europe and will need investment of over 1,000 billion kroner.

Kristian Jensen, CEO of Green Power Denmark, an organisation that advocates for renewable energy, backed the plans in comments to newswire Ritzau.

“We are very pleased that there are such high ambitions for what Denmark can deliver and how much the four countries together can deliver in relation to sustainable energy,” Jensen said.

“This is necessary if we are to free ourselves of fossil fuels. And if we quickly want to be free from Russian oil and gas,” he said.

Denmark will be responsible for 35 of the 150 planned gigawatts, Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten reports — up from 2.3 gigawatts in Danish waters in the North Sea today. To hit that mark, Denmark expects to install 10,000 new large wind turbines. 

Jensen said the plan could create jobs, with Danish companies such as Vestas and Ørsted involved in development of green energy.

“This agreement calls for massive investments in the production of more renewable energy, and Denmark has a head start because we have the entire value chain from the smallest details to the large constructions,” he said.

“The agreement could therefore mean thousands of jobs at these large companies. But also at… small and medium businesses that are subcontractors to the likes of Vestas and Ørsted,” he said.

The 150 gigawatts would cover the electric needs of about 230 million European households — about half the population of the EU. 

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Denmark to reduce electricity tax in 2022 and 2023

A majority in the Danish parliament has agreed to reduce the amount of tax charged on electricity, beginning this year.

Denmark to reduce electricity tax in 2022 and 2023

The deal was presented on Friday in the form of a political agreement between enough parties to vote it through parliament.

The reduced electricity tax, which will be temporary, is expected to cost the Danish state 475 million kroner and is part of a wider deal which aims to compensate the public for increasing living costs.

Tax on electricity will be eased by 4 øre per kilowatt hour for the last three months of 2022 (1 øre is one hundredth of a krone), and by 4.3 øre per kilowatt hour in 2023.

As such, the electricity tax rate will be 72.3 øre per kilowatt hour for the last quarter of 2022, and 68.8 øre per kilowatt hour throughout 2023.

Electricity taxes were already scheduled for reduction under the terms of a 2018 political agreement.

Prior to Friday’s agreement, the plan was for electricity tax to fall from 76.3 øre per kilowatt hour in 2022 to 63.9 øre per kilowatt hour in 2025.

The temporary cuts announced on Friday are separate from that deal and mean that the tax will be lower than planned in 2023, but will rise at the beginning of 2024.

Friday’s agreement also includes provisions to increase tax subsidies for people in employment and to give a one-off lump sum of 5,000 kroner to elderly people who receive the ældrecheck welfare benefit.

The overall cost to the state of the deal is 3.1 billion kroner.

Parties from both sides of the political aisle have pledged to back the agreement in parliament. They include the Socialist People’s Party (SF), the Red Green Alliance, Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre), Conservative and Liberal parties along with the Social Democratic government.

The increasing cost of energy is cited in the agreement as the primary reason for the necessity of the deal.

The Danish Chamber of Commerce praised the political agreement in comments to news wire Ritzau.

“A reduced electricity tax means both consumers and businesses get an incentive to switch to green electricity,” the interest organisation’s director Brian Mikkelsen said.