Danish Energy Plan: Energy 21

by the CADDET Danish National Team

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"Energy 21" is a new Danish policy plan to cut drastically the country's carbon dioxide emissions. It reinforces the government's aim to reduce national carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2005 to 20% less than the 1988 levels. But the new plan, launched in the spring of 1996, goes further, containing longer-term developments which aim to halve the carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2030. This article focuses on aspects of the plan concerned with renewable energy.

Energy 21

Energy 21 will contribute to sustainable energy development in Denmark, by improving the interaction between the energy sector and the rest of Danish society. It aims to achieve its objectives by making energy supply systems more efficient, increasing energy-saving efforts, supporting improved recovery techniques and increasing the use of renewable energy resources. For example, in 1994, renewable energy contributed about 8% of Danish energy consumption; this will be raised to 12-14% by the year 2005 and about 35% by 2030, thus reducing the environmental impact of the energy sector and improving security of supply. This means an increase in the use of renewable energy by 1% per year up to 2030.

Renewables R&D

  • The government-funded energy research programme and the Development Programme for Renewable Energy together aim to promote long-term energy policy objectives while helping to improve the export of Danish energy technology and know-how. R&D will contribute to the knowledge and technologies that make it possible to gradually reduce fossil fuel consumption, increase the contribution made by renewable energy to the energy supply, and improve efficiency. Research will also produce solutions that reduce the environmental impact of the energy technologies that are used.
     Energy 21 stresses the priority of three energy research and development areas:
  • Renewable energy technologies: in particular, wind energy with the emphasis on off-shore wind turbines; and biomass with the emphasis on combined heat and power technologies.
  • Energy saving and energy efficiency: developing more energy efficient products, appliances and processes; better knowledge of the interaction between behaviour, lifestyle and energy consumption; and cutting energy consumption for transport purposes.
  • Integrated technologies and systems for optimising the Danish energy system.
     The programme will emphasise long-term, strategic research and development projects that involve industry and the utilities to a greater extent.

Priority Projects

CHP & Biomass

An important task in the area of combustion technology is to make the use of biomass profitable in centralised and small-scale combined heat and power (CHP) plants. The development activity of the utilities and industry will be supplemented by government-supported research that promotes the understanding of fundamental combustion processes.
 Gasification of biomass is another important area. By means of gasification, the enormous amounts of surplus straw in Northern, Central and Eastern Europe can be better used locally, thus reducing expenses and environmental impact from the transportation of biomass. However, straw gasification is a difficult technology and substantial resources will be invested in achieving technical and economic breakthrough. A specially-supported project is the development of cost-effective technology for producing bioethanol.

Wind Energy

A special research task will be undertaken on off-shore wind farms, focusing on the new demands on foundations, corrosion-resistant materials, ability to withstand greater loads, etc. The off-shore potential is enormous with around 7,000 MW in Denmark alone. As wind turbines become larger and more efficient, it becomes more difficult to fit them into the landscape. This means that a proportionately greater share of wind turbine development has to take place off-shore. This tendency is expected to be accelerated after 2005.
 The new 1.5 MW wind turbines are to be made more efficient by using less material and reducing weight. better adaptation to the landscape and lower noise levels will maintain popular support for wind energy. More efficient blade profiles can further strengthen the international competitiveness of the Danish wind turbine industry. Alternatives to the traditional Danish wind turbine design with three-blade rotors will be investigated.


New and more efficient energy technology plays a vital role in the endeavours to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions and ensure security of supply.
 Results of Danish energy research and development over the past
 20 years have been important in creating technical solutions which today are in demand world-wide. The new projects undertaken in support of Energy 21 will shift Denmark's energy perspectives towards the next decades, and aim to encourage enhanced co-operation in international energy R&D.

 For more information contact the CADDET Danish National Team at Tølløse.

The CADDET Renewable Energy Newsletter is a quarterly magazine published by the CADDET Centre for Renewable Energy at ETSU, UK.

The articles published in the Newsletter reflect the opinions of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the official view of CADDET.

Enquiries concerning the Newsletter should be addressed to
Pauline Toole, Editor, CADDET Centre for Renewable Energy, ETSU, Harwell, Oxfordshire OX11 0RA, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 1235 432968, Fax: +44 1235 433595.