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ENERGY

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
Freezing temperatures in Denmark in January this year. Cold weather could help push energy costs up. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix

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.

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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.

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ENERGY

Why the energy crisis isn’t over yet in Denmark

Denmark has cut the majority of its consumption of Russian gas but it is too early to disregard all energy saving measures, experts advise.

Why the energy crisis isn’t over yet in Denmark

Gas stocks in Denmark remain high despite the winter having reached the halfway mark, but it would not be prudent to drop good energy saving habits, broadcaster DR writes.

Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 40 percent of the natural gas used by Europe came from Russia. That has now been reduced to around 8-10 percent, DR reports.

This means that the EU has moved towards its target of becoming independent of Russian gas, a senior consultant in the Danish energy sector told the broadcaster.

“We have put plans into action and with the amount of gas we are saving now, we are almost at the point of being able to go without Russian gas,” Kristian Rune Poulsen of Green Power Denmark, the interest organisation for the energy sector, said.

The reason for this is that imports of liquid gas from North America and the Middle East have been increased, but also because consumers and businesses across Europe have managed to reduce consumption.

“In Denmark, we used 37 percent less gas in 2022 compared with 2021. How much of this is actual savings and how much is from switching to other fuels, we don’t yet know for sure,” Poulsen said.

Europe currently has good gas stocks and prices are expected to be stable for the rest of the winter.

READ ALSO: Low European gas prices ‘will benefit’ energy consumers in Denmark

But it’s too early to call off the energy crisis and turn up thermostats without a care, according to a number of experts who spoke to DR.

“There’s no doubt that it’s a huge success that we’ve succeeded in saving 20-25 percent on gas and significantly increased imports of liquid gas,” Brian Vad Mathiesen, energy researcher at Aalborg University, said to DR.

“But we still get Russian gas through Turkey and Ukraine, and countries like Hungary and Romania are still dependent on Russian gas,” he said.

Moscow could therefore still use gas as leverage to drive a wedge between European countries, he stated.

A senior researcher in international relations also said that measures to conserve gas should continue.

“We’ve been good at cutting back. But if we stop saving now, we’ll run into problems next year,” Trine Villumsen Berling of the Danish Institute for International Studies told DR.

Much of the gas currently stored was originally supplied by Russia, she noted. Power plants still need to use gas to produce energy when weather conditions reduce wind output, she also said.

“We need Danes to still have those good habits. We must remain aware of how we use energy and how much we turn on the heating for quite a while yet,” she said.

“We must remember that in future we won’t get much gas from Russia and that we are only in this healthy situation because we have been good at conserving,” added Poulsen of Green Power Denmark.

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