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.”