It’s both surprising and encouraging to see a country with so many natural resources invest so heavily in renewable ones.
Denmark ranks as the 32nd largest net exporter of crude oil in the world. It also helps meet its energy demands by tapping into its vast natural gas reserves and utilizing coal power. Like elsewhere across the globe, however, these browner energy resources are being depleted and aren’t sustainable over the long term. The country’s gas resources, for example, are expected to see their production fall below consumption levels in the near future.
To accommodate these trends and increase its self-sufficiency, Denmark is turning to green energy production. Some methods are already in place, such as the nearly 30 percent of the country’s energy demands that are currently met by wind turbines alone.
In 2011, Denmark put its “Energy Strategy 2050” plan in place, which aims the country toward being fully independent of fossil fuels by 2050. This larger goal will be accomplished through smaller steps, like deriving 30 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 (already accomplished through bolstered wind farms).
Most notably, the country is backing its green energy goals with substantial financial investments. Denmark’s finance minister announced in June that the country will form a $1 billion green fund to drive the reduction of brown energy use and fuel renewable energy projects and job production. The funds will be split between an initial phase directing some $365 million in government guarantees to investors and producers in both the public and private sectors, and a later $400 million investment to bolster those efforts.
The fund is not a new idea, having already been implemented in the UK and with several US states (such as New York) having put similar initiatives in place. But the commitment by a leading European nation shows the importance of green energy production spreading across the globe.
Furthermore, the size of the investment, especially for a smaller country with strong fossil fuel reserves, should further pave the path to a renewable energy future and hopefully lead many other countries in that same direction.