Denmark

Denmark approves energy island as they drive forward climate ambitions

An artists impression of the energy island. Photo credit: Energinet.dk.

By Anders Lorenzen

After having ended new oil and gas drilling licenses in the North Sea, Denmark continues to drive forward an ambitious climate agenda.

Last week the Danish parliament approved, what the Danish climate and energy minister Dan Jorgensen said would be the world’s first energy island.

A hub for offshore wind power

The artificial island to be built in the North Sea. It will produce and store enough green energy to produce electricity for three million European households. The objective of the island is to link up with offshore wind turbines and, in its initial phase, it will be the size of 18 football fields. It will supply power to households and create green hydrogen for use in shipping, aviation, industry and heavy transport. In the later phases, the plan is to extend to ten million households with a potential for 650 powerful offshore wind turbines. 

During a press briefing Dan Jorgensen said: “This is truly a great moment for Denmark and for the global green transition. (The island) will make a big contribution to the realisation of the enormous potential for European offshore wind,” he said.

Strengthens Denmark’s climate ambitions

The artificial energy island is seen as a key component in Denmark’s legally binding target to cut its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 70% from 1990 levels by 2030, making it one of the world’s most ambitious targets. 

The island is to be constructed 80 kilometres off Denmark’s west coast. The wind turbines surrounding it will have a capacity of 3 gigawatts (GW). It will cost around 210 billion Danish kroners ($33.87 billion) and is expected to be operational by 2033.  It will be the biggest project ever constructed in Denmark.

In addition, the Danish government has plans for another energy island in the Baltic sea. This will be linked to an ambitious green hydrogen energy project to be built by a consortium of six major Danish companies.

The project became a reality after strong cross-party support from the largest and most significant parties across the Danish political landscape, representing the centre, the right and the left.

Early wind pioneer

Denmark is seen as the world’s early wind pioneer dating back to the 1970’s. The country  constructed the world’s first offshore wind farm in 1991, and is still today seen as a world leader in wind power.

Jorgensen explained that the project heralds a new era for offshore wind. 

The project has already achieved international praise. The Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol, said this is the kind of project Europe needs to accelerate clean energy transitions. 

The European Union (EU) has recently announced plans to increase its offshore wind capacity 25-fold by 2050.

The advance of offshore wind

In general, many clean energy advocates and analysts are excited about the prospects of offshore wind which continues to go from strength to strength.  Such projects used to be found only in Europe, but new ventures are happening around the world, especially in South Korea and China. And in the US, President Biden wants to accelerate US offshore wind projects after Donald Trump tried to insert blocks and delays. 

Meanwhile, innovation in offshore wind technology continues to speed up with the new generation of wind turbines becoming more powerful, which means fewer of them will be needed to generate the same amount of electricity.

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