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Denmark aims for 100% renewables in 2050

Danish government proposals have called for generating just over half of its electricity from wind turbines by 2020 and all of its energy from renewable sources in 2050.

This is an historical effort to become even better at saving energy and create an even more competitive and energy-effective company culture in Denmark, also for households,” Minister for Climate, Energy and Building Martin Lidegaard said.

However, despite its green credentials in wind energy, which account for 20% of its power mix and make it a world leader, the country has virtually no hydropower and no nuclear installations, rendering it heavily dependent on coal. In 2010, coal lay at the source of 44% of total Danish power generation and fossil fuels accounted for around two-thirds.

The government’s proposal called for coal-fired power plants and oil-fired heating to be phased out by 2030. Coal heating would be replaced by biomass.

Despite a cost of DKK5.6bn (US$1bn) in additional spending in 2020, Lidegaard said that the decision to phase out fossil fuels was equivalent to buying an insurance policy “against the risk of the market in the next 10 years.” “The conclusion being it has a cost to make a green transformation, but it also has a cost not to do it,” Lidegaard said. “I think this will work out to be the best insurance Denmark has ever (bought).”

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