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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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.


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.