LARGE-SCALE USE OF RENEWABLE ENERGY
RENEWABLE ENERGY: 25,000 inhabitants will be going on an energy diet when the Danish city of Frederikshavn goes over to 100% renewable energy, the first in the world to do so
Frederikshavn in northern Denmark will be the first medium-sized city in the world to be exclusively supplied with electricity, heat and power for transportation from renewable energy sources. In 2015 the city’s 25,000 inhabitants will enjoy the fact that they are not contributing to global warming, because electricity will be supplied from wind turbines, heat from heat pumps, solar panels and biogas plants, while cars will be powered by electricity or biofuel.
The Danish government has set the objective that by 2025, renewable energy will account for 30% of total energy consumption in Denmark. This is far more ambitious than the EU’s energy plans and is based on the fact that Den-mark today is a world leader in renewable energy technologies such as wind energy, solar heating, wave energy and research into production of fuels from biomass. Denmark also has the world’s most well developed district heating system, which is largely based on combusting waste.
A shop window to inspire the world
The vision of basing a whole city’s energy needs on renewables in an integrated system covering electricity, heat and cooling, and power for transport, will make Frederikshavn a shop window to inspire the world. At present, although Danish energy technology is world-class and is exported worldwide, it tends to be sold for individual applications rather than for entire systems like cities.
“Danish energy technology is a priority focus area, so it is vital to demonstrate that it can work on the large scale,” says Mayor Erik Sørensen of Frederikshavn Municipality. “The challenge is to find the best combination of the various forms of renewable energy.”
Using energy optimally
Frederikshavn city council’s agreement to act as a showcase for Danish renewable energy technology was conditional on making the project a purely commercial enterprise.
“This means that implementation of the project will not put extra cost burdens on the citizens of Frederikshavn,” says Erik Sørensen. “We don’t see this as an energy saving project where our citizens make sacrifices. We are not asking people to ride a bicycle when they mostly need a car. Nor are they expected to economise on heating and lighting. We want to show how energy can be used optimally, and in that way encourage citizens to perhaps change some habits. We want to show the world that renewable energy can be implemented on the large scale, and that this can be done without adversely affecting life quality or compromising effectiveness.”
Six new wind turbines
One of the first tasks will be to install six new, 4 MW wind turbines, which together with the existing wind turbines will cover the city’s electricity needs.
“Today renewable energy from wind turbines and the city’s waste-fuelled combined heat and power station accounts for around 17% of Frederikshavn’s total energy needs,” says Erik Sørensen. “So the changeover to 100% renewable energy will require massive investments in both public and private sector power plants. Although we have an extensive district heating system, oil and natural gas still account for 20% of citizens’ private heating needs. To get them to change to renewable energy, we need to develop solutions that will make it attractive both environmentally and financially.” Mayor Sørensen believes that making Frederikshavn an international showcase for renewable energy technology will attract knowledge-based companies and new population groups to the city. “There is an amazing amount of support for this plan to put the city firmly on the world map. There is a sense of pride around doing something to tackle climate change, and share our experience to the benefit of all. It will also create a lot of jobs. Although it will require major investment, I am convinced that it will ultimately result in economic success for the city.”
Conversions and new constructions
Frederikshavn is the main city in Denmark’s most northerly municipality. Its port is home to a number of maritime businesses, and is also Denmark’s main naval base. The city has shipping routes to several destinations in Sweden and Norway.
Frederikshavn was chosen as a showcase for renewable energy because of its existing plants for production of electricity and heat. The city has four wind turbines supplying electricity, as well as a combined heat and power station that supplies heat and electricity from waste combustion.
A 50 MW solar heating plant and the conversion of existing heating plants from using natural gas to combusting straw and wood are among the planned investments. Connected to this will be a new bioethanol plant for the production of energy for the transport sector. Energy optimising renovation will be offered for the city’s existing housing stock, and new build- constructions will be of the low energy type.
This page forms part of the publication 'FOCUS Denmark' as chapter 17 of 17
Version 1. 04-07-2007
Publication may be found at the address http://www.netpublikationer.dk/um/8191/index.htm