As in most countries, the electricity grid was built after the Second World War and designed for central generation, which was characteristic of the energy system. As a consequence, Denmark’s transmission network operator has experienced problems to balance its grid and several times the system was close to a breakdown (Jensen 2002). This is why the expansion and transformation of the grid is one of the main topics of the Danish electricity agenda. Denmark is a pioneering country when it comes to implementing and testing new network concepts. The transmission operator Energinet.dk is currently implementing the cell concept, shifting more responsibilities for network control to the distribution networks and enabling islanding of individual cells.
Energy Strategy 2050: From Coal, Oil, and Gas to Green EnergyThe hallmark of Denmark’s energy policy is independence from fossil fuels. In fact, the Danish Government’s February 2011 Energy Plan, called “Energy Strategy 2050: From Coal, Oil, and Gas to Green Energy”, states this overall goal in its title. The plan states its main goal is independence from coal, oil, and gas by 2050, which in turn will result in Denmark maintaining a secure stable supply of affordable energy and helping to limit global climate change. In addition, achieving this goal will provide economic opportunities for Danish green energy technologies within its own borders as well as in the global market, and will minimize Denmark competing for a shrinking supply of fossil fuel supplies, many of which are in unstable countries.In March 2012 a new political agreement on energy was reached in Denmark. This Energy Agreement is an important step towards fulfilling the 2050 target. 95% of the members of Parliament -i.e. all parties but one- stand behind this Agreement. The Agreement contains a wide range of ambitious initiatives, bringing Denmark a good step closer to the target of 100% renewable energy in 2050. The Agreement covers the period 2012 – 2020.National Renewable Energy Action PlanIn 2020, the Danish Renewable Energy Action Plan expects almost 52% of total electricity consumption to be met by renewables. Almost 60% of this will be wind, with biomass, essentially, making up the rest.The NREAP thus indicates that Denmark is on track to meet and, indeed, exceed its 30% RES target by 0.4 percentage points. In the long term, Danish plans are for 100% renewables. The document indicates that the excess RES is available for use in co-operation mechanisms with other Member States. Denmark’s action plan focuses to a large extent on managing consumption, and only a very slight increase in electricity demand is expected between 2010 and 2020. Moreover, the plan indicates that future policies aim to reduce energy consumption in 2020 by 4% compared to 2006.The Agreement lists a large number of actions to be taken during the period 2012 – 2020. These actions will result in more than 35% renewable energy in final energy consumption in 2020. As the Agreement does not go beyond 2020, it does not lay out in detail the path from 2020 to 2050, which will lead to 100% renewable energy in 2050. The Agreement includes 62 actions covering the following areas: energy efficiency, renewable energy for electricity production, district heating, combined heat and power production, use of renewable energy in households and industries, smart grids, biogas production, use of electricity and renewable energy for transport, research, development and demonstration and finally financing of the Agreement.Feed-in tariff (see below section “regulatory framework”)
SolarOver the last few years, large solar installations for district heating have been established in a number of locations in Denmark. The contribution from solar energy is expected to be 16 ktoe by 2020 as opposed to 10 ktoe in 2005 (0.4 PJ in 2005, 0.7 in 2020)Wind EnergyDenmark is one of the most aggressive countries in the world for wind power and has a relatively long history using it. Since 1988 Denmark has built nearly 3,400 MW of wind capacity. Currently, wind power provides about 20% of Denmark’s electricity through more than 5,200 wind turbines, and this is an increase from 2% in 1990. The vast majority of this wind turbine-generated electricity is onshore, but as available land is becoming scarce, an increasing number of wind turbines are found in offshore wind farms.According to the Danish Energy Agency, this aggressive approach to wind power has reduced the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and has made Denmark one of the largest European energy technology exporters. Their data show that since 1980 Danish GDP (Gross Domestic Product) has increased by 78%, their energy consumption has remained flat, and their CO2 emissions have decreased by more than most any other European country.Denmark’s goal is to meet 50% of its electricity needs with wind energy by 2025, including a near doubling of their wind power capacity to 6,000 MW. They are also investing in the infrastructure to support electric cars, so that wind power will be powering some of their transportation needs.Biomass and BiogasIn 2010, solid biomass and biogas contributed 3,400 GWh to gross renewable electricity production, representing 26% of total gross renewable electricity production. All of this electricity was generated in the form of CHP. Biomass‐fuelled CHP plants have been a common part of the Danish electricity and district heating supply for decades. There are over 200 district heating plants and 15 CHP plants fuelled by solid biomass and 30 biogas‐fired CHP plants.Biomass consumption (wood and straw) in the Danish electricity sector is divided between both power stations and local CHP plants. Around two‐thirds of the straw and wood is consumed by power stations, while one‐third is fired at the 15 or so small local biomass plants. Some 147 local CHP plants – with a combined capacity of 80 MW – use biogas as a fuel. In 2010, power generation from biofuels totalled 3,068 GWh. It has remained relatively stable from one year to the next, but biofuels‐based power generating capacity has been increasing in Denmark in recent years.Denmark is a leader in terms of energy produced from waste, followed by Switzerland and far ahead of IEA third‐ and fourth‐placed Sweden and Austria. In terms of consumption, 91% of waste is used in CHP plants and the remaining part in heat‐only plants. In 2009, nearly half of solid biomass supply was used for heating purposes in the residential sector, 29% in CHP plants, and 17% in heat-producing plants.HydroHydropower makes a very small contribution to renewable electricity supply. Denmark has 38 small‐scale hydroelectric power plants, which in 2009 generated a total of 19,795 MWh. The largest plant, Tangeværket at Gudenåen, has an installed capacity of 3.9 MW.