One of society’s most important tasks is to boost the conversion to green energy, and Esbjerg and Varde municipalities are now working together with Energinet to find locations and case processing procedures in order to set more pace. The work must form the basis for increased cooperation with all of the country’s 98 municipalities.
In June, the Danish Parliament adopted the “Climate Agreement on Green Energy and Heat 2022”, precluding an extremely accelerated conversion to green energy. Power from solar cells and wind turbines on shore must be increased four-fold in just eight years to reduce the damage to the climate and make Denmark and Europe independent of oil, coal and gas from Russia.
A huge task
— It is a huge task which must be completed at record speed. This is why I am very pleased that Esbjerg and Varde municipalities are assisting to find ways of how we can connect solar parks, wind turbines and new electricity consumers to the electricity grid in a more clever, a more efficiently and not least a faster way, says Thomas Egebo, Managing Director of Energinet, which is responsible for the Danes’ supply of electricity and gas and the expansion of the overall electricity and gas grids.
It is a huge task which must be completed at record speed. Therefore, I am very delighted with the cooperation.
Managing Director of Energinet
The conversion to green energy turns the electricity system upside down in many ways. In the future, the electricity will not be produced at power plants near the big cities and consumption centers, but in parts of the country, where there is neither the electricity grid nor local consumption to absorb the enormous production. Furthermore, our need for power is increasing — e.g. for electric cars, heat pumps and the production of green hydrogen — and it will appear “as the wind blows” and “as the sun shines”. Therefore, much more power must be transported over much longer distances.
Electricity grid turned upside down
But while it may take a few years to build a solar park which can produce the same as a power plant, expanding the electricity grid which will be transporting the electricity often takes longer.
Therefore, the goal of the cooperation is, among other things, to ensure that the electricity grid is expanded in due time. For example, the municipalities can provide advice for Energinet how to expand the electricity grid on locations where as much power as possible can be connected fast, e.g. by assessing which plans for new solar parks can be realized with short-term prospects, and which plans have long-term prospects. The cooperation can also ensure that municipalities and Energinet to a greater extent simultaneously approve environmental assessments etc., so that both the processing time for new projects as well as electricity connections can be shortened.
Mads Sørensen, Mayor of Varde Municipality, says:
— In Varde Municipality, we have adopted an ambitious climate action plan with a goal of being climate neutral by 2050. Here, the green energy projects are paramount, and we are prepared to consider all ideas which can accelerate the conversion to the necessary speed and secure the framework for development both here in Varde Municipality, in Southwest Jutland and in the rest of the country.
Energinet has also opened a dialogue with several other municipalities, but the Esbjerg and Varde area is an obvious pilot project, as several larger specific projects are pending, and they can provide important learning in certain respects.
Jesper Frost Rasmussen, Mayor of Esbjerg Municipality, says:
— Esbjerg is and will remain to be a central focal point for the fulfillment of national and international climate goals. The green agenda characterizes the city. In addition to the strong position in relation to offshore wind, Esbjerg plays a leading role in terms of Power-to-X, innovative district heating, energy sector connection and much more. Therefore, it is only straightforward that we also get involved in this pilot project, which aligns with the will of Esbjerg Municipality’s to assist conducting the energy conversion. A flexible cross-functional cooperation is and will remain a decisive factor in the realization of the energy solutions of the future”.
Esbjerg is and will remain a central focal point for the fulfillment of national and international climate goals. The green agenda characterizes the city.
Jesper Frost Rasmussen
Mayor, Esbjerg Municipality
The business community greets welcome
The business community also welcomes the pilot project very much, explains Karsten Rieder, Director of Business Esbjerg.
It is important that there is a focus on ensuring the fastest possible expansion of the Danish transmission grids in order to be able to handle both the planned and future large RE (renewable energy) production facilities and data centres.
Director, Business Esbjerg
The work has already started, and it is planned that in the coming months a guidance document will be made which can be used by all municipalities to find out how they can cooperate with Energinet.