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ENERGY

Denmark delays closure of three power plants

Three Danish power plants scheduled to be shut down by next year will remain in operation until the summer of 2024.

Denmark delays closure of three power plants
Denmark's Studstrupværket power plant, seen here in a 2016 file photo, is one of three which will be temporarily kept open until 2024. The plant had partially closed earlier this year. Photo: Michael Lemvig Olsen/Ritzau Scanpix

The three power plants – two of which are in Jutland with one in Zealand – will not be decommissioned as planned, the Ministry of Climate, Environment and Critical Supplies said in a statement.

“We are unfortunately in a situation where a cold winter can affect Danish electricity security. We will do everything we can to avoid Danes having no electricity in their sockets and to make ourselves independent of Putin’s gas, and we are therefore delaying the closure of three power plants,” environment, energy and critical supplies minister Dan Jørgensen said in the statement.

The primary role of the retained power plants will be to provide a supplement to existing power sources in Denmark, including wind power, over the coming two winters to avoid the need for power cuts if the system come under strain, according to the ministry.

A cold winter or low level could result in intermittent strain on the system, the ministry has assessed.

READ ALSO: Could Denmark suffer electricity blackouts this winter?

The three power stations to be given the temporary reprieve are Kyndbyværket, located on Zealand, and Esbjergværket and Studstrupværket in Jutland.

The three power stations will remain open until summer 2024.

Parliament is in support of the decision, the ministry said in the statement.

According to the ministry, a section of the Studstrupværket plant stopped operating in April this year but has the capacity to produce 360 megawatts, while the Kyndbyværket’s block 21 stopped operating in 2020. It can produce 260 megawatts.

At Esbjergværket, a part of the station termed block 3, scheduled to be shut off next April, will now continue to operate for at least another year.

All three power plants are operated by Ørsted, Denmark’s largest power company.

In a statement, Ørsted said it would “comply with the authorities’ order and will now prepare and maintain facilities and obtain staff to operate them”.

“It is still our view that we as a society should phase out the use of gas, oil and coal as soon as possible but we are in the middle of a European energy crisis and we will naturally help to secure energy supplies as well as we can,” Ørsted CEO Mads Nipper said according to broadcaster DR.

According to both the energy ministry and the Danish Energy Agency (Energistyrelsen), the delayed closure of the plants does not affect Denmark’s 2025 and 2030 climate targets.

“This is due precaution. It’s important to stress that the decision does not affect being able to fulfil our ambitious climate goals because it the measure in question is a temporary one,” Jørgensen said.

Delaying the plant closures “does not change the long-term plans for green conversion in the electricity sector and CO2 reduction,” Energy Agency vice director Martin Hansen told DR.

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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.

READ MORE: 

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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