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ENERGY

Denmark’s energy infrastructure on alert after Nord Stream gas leakages

Denmark’s Energy Agency has asked the national infrastructure operator to raise its alert level for the gas and electricity sector following leaks at three different sections of gas pipe near Baltic Sea island Bornholm.

Denmark’s energy infrastructure on alert after Nord Stream gas leakages
This file photo taken on March 1st, 2022 shows a container decorated with a map showing the position of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Two leaks have been identified on the Nord Stream 1 Russia-to-Europe gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea, hours after a similar incident on its twin pipeline Nord Stream 2, Scandinavian authorities said. Photo: John Macdougall/AFP/Ritzau Scanpix

The Energy Agency confirmed in a statement that it had made the request of Energinet, the company responsible for the overall operation of the Danish electricity and gas system.

“Breaches of gas pipelines occur extremely rarely and we therefore see the need to raise the alert level as a result of the events we have seen during the last day,” Danish Energy Agency director Kristoffer Böttzauw said.

“We want to ensure thorough observation of Denmark’s critical infrastructure to strengthen supply security going forward,” he said.

The alert level has been raised to orange, the second-highest level.

Orange level means that companies in the sector are to be alert to security at their facilities.

The higher alert level means that “the physical security of vital buildings and installations is checked,” Böttzauw told news wire Ritzau.

“You make sure that fences are intact, that security cameras are working and that there are regular patrols. And you limit access as much as possible,” he said.

The energy agency director was not drawn to speculate on the cause of the leakages, which occurred on sections of the Nord Stream 2 and Nord Stream 1 Russia-to-Europe gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea.

“It’s too early to say [what caused it]. We will naturally do all we can to investigate together with the relevant authorities, including the military and police,” he said.

The Nord Stream 1 leaks were first spotted Monday evening, an hour after a drop in pressure was reported in Nord Stream 2, according to the Swedish Maritime Administration (SMA).

One of the leaks on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline occurred in the Danish economic zone and the other in the Swedish economic zone.

Danish F-16 fighter jets were scrambled to photograph the area on Monday after Danish authorities were alerted to a possible leak.

Newspaper Jyllands-Posten reported that the aircraft observed the “sea bubbling” at a location southeast of Bornholm.

The Danish Navy frigate Absalon has meanwhile been sent to the area around Bornholm, broadcaster DR reports.

The frigate will observe the area and warn civil maritime traffic to keep a distance, according to DR.

READ ALSO: Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline hit by ‘leaks’ in Swedish and Danish zones

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ENERGY

Danish consumers urged to keep conserving energy to avoid high costs

Although the price of electricity has recently fallen back from recent recent sky-high levels, it’s important that Danish consumers don’t return their usage habits to normal, energy experts say.

Danish consumers urged to keep conserving energy to avoid high costs

Energy prices in Denmark are currently lower than they were in the late summer and early autumn, but experts say that turning heating up to full blast – and generally scrapping measures to reduce consumption – will still result in costly bills.

While prices were high, many people in Denmark adapted their consumption habits in an effort to preserve stores and avoid high costs.

Public buildings and many businesses meanwhile implemented lower temperatures on thermostats, and power-hungry activities such as outdoor ice rinks or Christmas lighting were cancelled or cut back.

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With the weather now colder, energy prices are currently low.

That is partly because Denmark’s gas reserves that serve as an emergency backup are full, while issues at European power plants that exacerbated the crisis have been largely resolved. 

The cold weather and lower prices may tempt many to return to former habits and turn heating up as usual. But this could still see energy bills eventually hit record levels, experts have warned.

“We will have to think about what we use our electricity and gas for and make savings where we can,” Jim Vilsson, senior economist at state-owned energy company Energinet told broadcaster TV2.

“Otherwise, we could end up in a situation where we again risk being short of energy,” he said.

Data from Nordic energy stock market Nord Pool, reported by TV2, show the unit price of electricity hitting 4.36 kroner per kilowatt hour (not including fees and taxes) in late August.

The price was 0.9 kroner per kilowatt hour as of November 20th.

Gas prices similarly peaked in late August and before falling, but are higher than they were in November 2021.

READ ALSO: At what time of the day is electricity cheapest in Denmark?

“Supply wise we are well stocked at the moment. We have got the European gas strores filled well up and they are actually completely full in Denmark,” Vilsson told TV2.

Gas stocks remained full further into the late autumn than usual, according to raw material analyst Ole Sloth Hansen of Saxo Bank.

“We have only just seen gas stocks be reduced and this was three weeks later than normal. So we have lots of gas, but we’re not home and dry yet,” Hansen told TV2.

Consumers in Denmark have meanwhile reduced their consumption by an average of around 10 percent.

“The market is a little better than it was before. But I’m putting extra emphasis on ‘little’, because it’s based on a situation where we expect a relatively normal or mild winter,” Vilsson said.

Increased consumption could help to push current lower prices back up as well as deplete stocks, he warned.

“We have been able to keep prices down because we have stood together and been good at saving. If we go back to normal, we could be in a situation again where we will lack gas, coal or electricity,” he said.

READ ALSO: How do I check my Danish electricity plan and decide whether to change?

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