Finally, Denmark’s lighthouses got the green light

25. February 2022

Fortunately, three of Denmark’s new commercial lighthouse towers focus on energy technologies and even more of the new lighthouses are in different ways related to green transition. Here Glenda Napier from Energy Cluster Denmark charts the towering ambitions of the three partnerships within energy technologies across Denmark.

At the beginning of February this year, it became a reality: DKK 224 million of the total DKK 595 million that the Danish Business Promotion Board has just been allocated to eight new industrial lighthouse towers. They will go to projects with full focus on the development of three new large energy lighthouse towers in Denmark. This is happening in Lighthouse Sydjylland, Lighthouse Nordjylland, and Lighthouse Bornholm, three new triple-helix partnerships across companies, knowledge institutions and public actors, each of which will elevate local efforts to international business strengths. And they should all be visible from the moon in a few years.

The money has been allocated from the Danish Business Promotion Board and REACT-EU, and each regional effort is fostered by so-called Vækstteams (Growth Teams) with visionary companies, mayors and knowledge institutions, which in spring 2021 have defined precisely the special business effort that must be given extra green light in their region. On this basis, each Vækstteam prepared a number of recommendations for the Ministry of Industry. These recommendations have since resulted in several applications in new consortia and partnerships at the end of 2021. And now the commitment has come from the Danish Business Promotion Board. Energy Cluster Denmark is a partner in all three consortia within energy technology.

Let’s look at the professional content of the three new green and ambitious lighthouses:

Lighthouse Sydjylland has been awarded DKK 105.3 million and is about the development of green energy and sector coupling. The focus is to create common ground and a national “step-change” within green energy and sector coupling based on South Jutland companies and ensure massive production of green electricity and an energy efficient use of it through intelligent sector coupling. This could include reusing surplus heat from industrial or PTX plants in the district heating system or decarbonising the transport sector at PTX and producing e-fuels. The ambition is to create a national center for research and technology development within green energy and sector coupling in South Jutland, which can also attract great attention from global markets.

Lighthouse Nordjylland has been allocated DKK 92.4 million for the capture, storage and use of CO2. The focus is to specialize North Jutlandic companies within CCUS, i.e., that CO2 must go from being an unwanted residual product to a usable raw material. In order to develop a special industrial position of strength in this particular area, companies in North Jutland must excel in capturing and cleaning CO2 from various point sources, saving CO2 possibly underground and finally using CO2 as a raw material within e.g., green transport or the construction industry. The ambition is to use the local needs for handling CO2 in North Jutland to create a completely new business area that Denmark can become known for internationally.

Lighthouse Bornholm has been awarded DKK 27.2 million and concerns using green power from offshore wind turbines and establishing Bornholm as an energy island. The intention is to realize Energiø Bornholm with a focus on business opportunities in Bornholm as the Baltic Sea’s center for offshore wind energy. The ambition is to secure Bornholm as the Baltic Sea’s green transport hub and create business synergies for Bornholm as a test island by ensuring local, national and international players the opportunity to develop and test the energy technology solutions of the future on an energy island.

Common to the three new green lighthouses is that all three contribute to solving some of the biggest energy challenges the world is facing: green energy and sector coupling, the management and use of CO2 and the energy islands of the future. And both in Lighthouse Sydjylland and Lighthouse Bornholm, digitization and use of energy data will have important roles. The ambitions are indisputably towering because we’re in a hurry. The ambitions must be realised in a short period of time. ‘Both for the sake of the funds allocated, which expire in June 2023, but just as much for the sake of the green transition, which is certainly not waiting for anyone. Together, they cover geographical strengths in Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Denmark. The new lighthouses may be regional in their starting point, but let it be the goal that the light from each lighthouse should be visible all over the world, so even more people head for Denmark when there are good concrete technological and research examples of excellence within the green transition.

The Danish lighthouses will help set direction on the road to 2030 and 2050, so that we collaborate on innovation and green transition to reach our common climate goals and at the same time create some strong complimenting business strengths for the benefit of growth and competitiveness in Danish business.