Overview: A review of the green movement in Denmark, explanations on the policies that led to success and their goals for the future, and an overview of the partnerships with private industries working toward a greener, net-zero future.
The Green Movement in Denmark is considered to be one of the most ambitious national climate mitigation strategies in the world. While the country has taken notable strides to become less reliant on fossil fuels since the late 20th Century, the year 2020 marked a major turning point for the nation when the Danish Climate Act was passed. With this act, the current government has agreed to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent compared to 1990 levels by the year 2030, working towards net-zero by the year 2050 (at the latest). In order to achieve these goals, Denmark’s government will establish and present annual plans, with concrete initiatives to reach carbon neutrality across all sectors, including energy, housing, industry, transportation, energy efficiency, agriculture, land use change and forestry.
Essential to achieving these ambitious goals for the future are public-private climate partnerships spearheaded by industry leaders. As part of this major strategy, the public sector’s role involves setting long-term goals and conditions, while the private sector works to provide and produce the innovative solution and investments needed to achieve the goals. The partnerships established as part of these efforts will progress local initiatives while supporting the national agenda.
State of Green
Overview: A not-for-profit, public-private partnership established in 2008
Owned by the Danish state and three leading Danish business associations
Primary role is to bring together Danish businesses, agencies, academic institutions, experts and researchers, aiming to facilitate dialogue and spur international partnerships
Danish Energy Agency
Overview: An agency under the Ministry of Climate, Energy & Utilities, established in 1976
Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners
Overview: Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) is a fund management company specializing in tailor-made investments in energy infrastructure assets globally – in particular within renewables and the greenfield segment. Established in 2012, they are pioneers in taking their approach and methods global and in realizing a profitable green energy transition based on high ESG standards.
CIP is a trusted partner in projects across a wide range of technologies including offshore wind, onshore wind, solar PV, biomass and energy-from-waste, transmission and distribution, reserve capacity and storage, and other energy assets like Power-to-X. Their team consists of highly experienced specialists with relevant industrial backgrounds and skills within engineering, structuring and de-risking, construction and operation, as well as mergers & acquisitions and project financing. The CIP team comprises over 300 professionals across over 30 nationalities.
Further reading: https://cipartners.dk
Tour of Middelgrunden Wind Farm
Overview: Since the wind farm was proposed in 1996, Middelgrunden Offshore Wind Farm has grown to become a world-famous attraction. The wind farm was built in Oresund, a location 3.5km offshore, that was previously used as a dumping area for building materials. The construction began in 2000 and was completed the same year, after a series of public hearings from 1997 to 1999. The wind farm produces up to 85,000MWh of power annually, which makes up about three percent of Copenhagen’s total power consumption. The farm is made up of 20 turbines shared by its developers, Københavns Energi and Middelgrundens Vindmøllelaug, a private cooperative partnership with an investment of $60 million.
The turbines of the Middelgrunden Offshore Wind Farm produce up to two megawatts each and altogether span 3.4km by 1 hectare. To prevent corrosion from constant exposure to salt water, the turbines are protected by a high-grade corrosion resistant paint, as well as internal climate control, an automatic lubrication system, and built-in cranes for servicing. The cranes allow for easy servicing of the turbines in case of problems. The foundations of the turbines are also capped to prevent damage from North Sea ice. The power produced by the turbines is transmitted to the central (tenth) turbine, and then routed to the Amagar power station in eastern Denmark via a 30kV subsea cable.
Tour of CopenHill
Overview: CopenHill is the cleanest waste-to-energy plant in the world, capable of converting 440,000 tons of waste into clean energy annually. More than that, it is a futuristic piece of public infrastructure, with tree-lined hiking trails, ski slopes on its roof, and the alleged “tallest artificial climbing wall in the world” on its facade.
Located in an industrial area near the city center, the plant aspires to become an exemplary model in the field of waste management and energy production that aligns with Copenhagen’s goal of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral city by 2025. As an architectural landmark, the original idea of CopenHill dates back to 2002, when Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) proposed to insert a ski-slope topography above the largest department store in the densest area of Copenhagen. The idea didn’t come to fruition until 2011, when the firm and an associated consortium won an international design competition for Copenhagen’s waste-to-energy plant.
The waste management facility started operations in 2017 and the artificial skiing slope and recreational hiking area opened on top of the building in 2019. Today, CopenHill not only delivers electricity and district heating to 680,000 people in 150,000 homes every day, but also serves as a model of public infrastructure that contributes to the social life of the citizens and the sustainability goals of Copenhagen.