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ENERGY

Danish municipalities make savings with heat reductions 

Local authorities in Denmark have benefitted from blanket measures taken to conserve energy and thereby prevent huge bills, according to a media report.

Danish municipalities make savings with heat reductions 
Danish schools and other municipal buildings have turned down heating dials to save energy. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

Beginning in October, almost all Danish public buildings, from schools to town halls, turned the thermostat down to 19 degrees in an effort to save on energy costs.

Some municipalities generated savings much higher than expected. 

Municipal buildings in Tårnby near Copenhagen consumed 20 percent less in October 2022 compared to October 2021, even after compensating for this year’s mild autumn, DR reports.

Fredensborg in northern Zealand has seen a 45 percent drop in consumption compared to October of the previous year. 

“There are blankets here at the town hall if there is anyone who thinks that it is too cold at 19 degrees,” Fredensborg mayor Thomas Lykke told DR.

“People are doing breaktime calisthenics and wearing finger gloves, so we try to keep warm, but I don’t see it being a problem for our employees,” he said.

READ MORE: Energy prices in Denmark rise as winter weather sets in 

Schools in Jutland towns Haderslev and Esbjerg used 21 percent less district heating in October compared to last year.

Although the first official month of winter is only just beginning, Haderslev mayor Mads Skau said he was confident local authorities would be able to cope with the energy situation through the coldest months.

But the town would be lenient if children and staff began to feel the cold, he said.

“When it gets colder outside, it’s probably lovely to come in to 19 degrees, and if there are problems then we will also turn the other cheek if individual places adjust upwards a bit,” he said.

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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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