Denmark to Reach 100% Renewable Energy Target by 2050
According to Denmark's Energy Strategy 2050, the country's aims are to reduce fuel consumption 33 percent by 2020 and to achieve complete independence from fossil fuels by 2050.
How? Numerous new wind projects are expected to make up 40 percent of the country's electricity by 2020, bringing the total fraction of power provided by renewables up to 60 percent. Meanwhile, aggressive efforts in energy efficiency improvements are expected to reduce total energy demand by 6 percent, retaining Denmark's global position as #1 in this area. Bolstered by a recent partnership with Nissan, Denmark is also aggressively pursuing electric cars.
Similarly, a recent report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) shows that renewable energy could potentially supply 80 percent of US electricity demand by 2050. Unlike the US, the Danish plan also includes the heating of buildings as well.
Under the “Low Carbon Urban Heating” plan, Denmark has made strong commitments to district heating: every new power plant built since 1976 is a combined heat and power plant and renewable heating systems are replacing fossil fuel heating systems. Between 1980 and 2009, the heating sector in Denmark has reduced its carbon emissions by 60 percent, which it expects to bring up to 80 percent by 2020.
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Although an expensive transition, the government says the path is “economically responsible.”
According to Lykke Friis, the Minister for Climate and Energy, “No one is saying that carrying out major investments in energy efficiency and expanding our use of renewable energy is going to be free. But the alternative: Continued dependence on fossil fuels will, as all signs indicate, only become more expensive in the years to come. Converting to renewable energy will shield Denmark from the effects of increasing energy prices.”
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.