Denmark has set the most ambitious low-carbon target in the world – according to new legislation the country will generate 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050.
The commitment covers its entire energy supply – encompassing electricity, heating, industry and transport.
The country’s parliament had previously committed to phasing out fossil fuels by 2050, but now has gone much further committing to cutting greenhouse gas emissions 34% on 1990 levels by 2020 and reducing energy consumption by 12% on 2006 levels.
These ambitions will now be coupled with a target of 35% renewable energy by 2020, half of which will be provided by wind. The remainder of Denmark’s renewable energy target will be realised through renewable heat, smart grid, biogas and other green technologies.
The target will require 1500 MW of offshore wind and 1800 MW of onshore wind capacity by 2020, to make up for the replacement of older turbines. A comprehensive smart grid strategy will also be adopted to enable the integration of great renewables in the grid.
The legislation also brings in incentives for large-scale power plants to switch from coal to biomass and new support for geothermal energy. Funds will also be made available to convert oil boilers for heating buildings into renewable ones, and from 2013 oil and gas boilers will be banned from new buildings.
Energy efficiency investments by industry will be subsidised under the new regime, as will the use of renewable energy in production processes.
Biogas use will also be encouraged in industrial processes, the natural gas grid and transportation, which will also be the focus of new efforts to drive the adoption of electric and hydrogen fuel vehicles.
“Denmark will once again be the global leader in the transition to green energy,” said Danish Minister for Climate, Energy and Building, Martin Lidegaard. “This will prepare us for a future with increasing prices for oil and coal. Moreover, it will create some of the jobs that we need so desperately, now and in the coming years.”