Denmark in 2019 produced over half its energy from renewables, mostly from wind, only a little from solar. 2019 saw a big jump from 2018, when 41 percent came from renewables. The increase was largely due to the coming on line of the Horns Rev 3407 MegaWatt offshore wind project. Two other projects authorized by the Danish parliament in 2018 will begin operations soon and will up Denmark’s wind energy output even more. In addition, parliament just passed another even bigger climate act. It calls for building one or more islands around which will be placed offshore wind turbines capable of generating 10 Gigawatts of power, enough to provide electricity for 10 million homes. The new climate act commits Denmark to cutting greenhouse gases 70 percent by 2030 and reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
Further, Denmark will decarbonize all sectors, including energy, transportation, and agriculture. It will cost the equivalent of between $29 billion and $44 billion dollars, coming mostly from private sources. The act aims not for the possible, but for the necessary. Denmark’s task is to make the necessary possible. Denmark hopes other countries will follow its lead. Norway already gets 98 percent of its energy from renewables, mostly hydro power. Germany in 2015 got 30 percent of its energy from renewables, but its progress has slowed, in part by Germans’ antipathy to having wind turbines near their homes, and in part by grid limitations that inhibit delivery of power from where it’s generated in the North of the country to where industry needs it in the South. Eastern European countries face difficult challenges in generating more energy from renewables due mostly to their large legacy coal industries. Still, the EU has proposed that all its members acknowledge that a climate emergency exists and commit to neutralizing carbon emissions by 2050.