From coal, oil and gas to green energy

The Danish Government presented its “Energy Strategy 2050”, February 2011. The plan describes how Denmark can be independent from coal, oil and gas by 2050.

The strategy contains a first phase of initiatives that will reduce the use of fossil fuels by 33 percent in 2020, compared with 2009.

“Denmark is the first country to present such a specific and ambitious strategy for achieving independence from fossil fuels,” says Minister for Climate and Energy Lykke Friis.

The strategy is the first political step to implement the recommendations of Green Energy, The road to a Danish energy system without fossil fuels – a comprehensive study submitted by the Danish Climate Commission, September 2010. It is available in English and Chinese.

The Energy strategy focuses on the most cost effective and sustainable energy solutions, which can be implemented right now based on the existing technology – not lease the urban energy infrastructure.

Thereby, Denmark can be the first EU country to implement the EU Energy Efficiency strategy and demonstrate the benefits of “smart cities” and “intelligent grids for electricity, district heating and district cooling”

The more difficult solutions, e.g. how to develop “green traffic”, are not yet commercial but will follow in the coming decades.

In the coming months, I will like to share my experience with you about these challenges and opportunities at this blog.

I sincerely hope many of you, dear readers, will share knowledge with me and spread the ideas.

Please also have a look at our web page, www.ramboll.dk and at the Ramboll profile on www.energymap.dk, the official Danish web for energy and climate solutions.

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3 Replies to “From coal, oil and gas to green energy”

  1. Regarding new solutions ive just read the following article (in danish):

    http://ing.dk/artikel/119866-amerikansk-gennembrud-for-ny-type-el-bil-batteri

    it is based on the enlish press releas from MIT:
    http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/flow-batteries-0606.html

    It states an interesting development in how we can produce and store our surplus electrical energy.

    Same as petrol, the electrical energy can be stored in a liquid state (just like regular car batteries), the difference is that MIT is doing research in making the energized liquid more potent, as well as developing a battery that be refuelled with this liquid (just like regular petrol/gasoline)

    If this works, and the technology is perfected, it could be the breakthrough we need for electrical storage capacity on an industrial level.

    Albeit it needs further research, but with the current focus on the subject i suspect it will ready for industrial applications within the next decade.

  2. If denmark is to become completely free of fossil fuels, we will have to manage the complications, just to name a few, of:
    – heating
    – electrical power supply

    The current energy infrastructure is centralized facilities that produce and distribute energy. The future will consist of a wide range of smaller units producing power. These however are usually depended on solar, wind and biomass.

    Biomass isn’t an unlimited supply, so mainly we would have to rely on solar and wind. The problem is that they aren’t constant.

    Heating can be stored in insulated storage facilities, so when there is surplus we can transform the energy to hot water.

    But how would we address the issue of generating electrical energy when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

    An idea could be to build offshore dams. Huge walls seperating the ocean water level from the water level inside the dam. Thus when there is surplus in wind production, water will be pumped out of the dam and when needed the water can be let into the dam via a turbine. It is an idea (allthough expensive) on how to create a viable buffer for wind power.

    Could this be a viable solution, and are there better alternatives? For fixing the electrical need of the cities of tomorrow.

    1. I fully agree. You have a good point. The Climate Commission underlines that the study is based on market economical principles and takea into account the energy market around Denmark.

      The Commmission took into account that biomass might be a limited ressource in case many countries would shift to biomass. Therefore the Commission analysed a scenario with high biomass prices. The result would be that electricity prices would be higher in periods with low wind energy and that it would be more profitable to have a flexible system. The heat sector would still use cheap surplus heat from the thermal power generation (condensing, except in peak periods with very high electricity prices) e.g. with more flue gas condensation. The heat sector would also use more low temperature sources and large thermal storages.

      Following your consern the Commission should also have analysed a scenario with lack of hydropower to regulate the electricity production. It should take into account that other countries in Northern Europe also would install many wind turbines and that all these wind turbines would almost stop under certain climate conditions. In particular a cold winter week with no wind in Northern Europe. The price on electricity would be extreemely high not only for some hours but for days and call for solutions to produce and store electricity. However we only know expensive solutions.

      The cheapest is to devleop flexible solutions to use the cheap electriciry when it is there and to avoid electricity consumption for weeks when it is extremely expensive. That it e.g. the thermal low temperature heating and cooling systems with thermal storages.

      Other solutions are: production of hydrogen to store the electricity, investment in more hydro power with high dams, compressed air in underground caverns or similar constructions and your proposal – a pump storage. All of them will be very expensive. Interesting to see how the costs of these solutions will develop.

      Your proposal to construct a circular dam to form a pump storage is an interesting idea, however it would be much cheaper to utilize existing land formations and mountains. I think that the Norwegians could devleop efficient solutions at the mountains or in them, which are more cost effective and acceptable for our environment than a circular dam. It is important to take into account that the height between lowest and highest water level in the pump storage shall be as high as possible in order to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

      May be anyone has analysed such solutions ?

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