May 20, 2020 / 11:38 AM / in 9 days

Denmark plans to create energy islands in Baltic and North Sea

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark on Wednesday proposed a more than tripling of its offshore wind capacity by building two energy islands linked to new wind farms in the Baltic and North seas to help to meet climate change targets.

FILE PHOTO: Middelgrunden offshore wind farm is pictured outside Copenhagen, Denmark November 27, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Mortensen/File Photo

The energy islands are an important part of the Social Democratic government’s climate action plan which was presented on Wednesday but still needs to be ratified in parliament.

Climate and Energy Minister Dan Jorgensen said the cost would amount to a three-digit billion crowns figure (100 billion crowns equals $14.7 billion). He also said the vast majority would be financed by private investors with no or little state subsidies.

“The reality today is that offshore wind is being built several places around the world without subsidies and that is of course also the future we are looking into,” Jorgensen told Reuters.

Governments across the world have started to cut the generous subsidies to the wind power industry since its inception in the early 1990s as the cost of building offshore wind has dropped roughly 70% since 2012.

One of the two hubs, which would be the world’s first energy island, will be located on the Danish Baltic island of Bornholm and the other on an artificial island in the North Sea.

Each will have a capacity of at least 2 GW, enough to power four million of Denmark’s 5.8 million homes, and the North Sea project, which was first presented last year, could eventually be increased to 10 GW.

Denmark will now start a dialogue with the Netherlands and Poland - on the North and Baltic seas respectively - about connecting the two projects.

The two hubs and the surrounding offshore wind farms could be ready by 2030 and would more than triple Denmark’s current offshore wind capacity from today’s 1.7 GW.

Danish lawmakers have agreed on a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2030 from 1990 levels, one of the world’s most ambitious, but details on how exactly this will be achieved remain to be negotiated.

(This story has been refiled to add dropped word billion in third paragraph)

Reporting by Stine Jacobsen; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Jane Merriman

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