“Sector coupling will lift the green transition”

2. June 2021

Dan Jørgensen, Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities, acknowledges the danish companies’ efforts on the way to achieving the target for 2030. Read along here when we ask seven sharp questions to Dan Jørgensen about the green transition of the energy sector, our work and our 2030 and 2050 goals.

How does a unified energy sector contribute to achieving our 2030 goal – i.e., that innovation efforts are grouped together in one cluster covering everything from production to consumption?

“Denmark’s 70 per cent target requires an integrated energy system where we use our green power flexibly across sectors. A unified energy sector means that companies can share knowledge and experience on everything from production to consumption and collaborate to develop the solutions of the future that will help bring us to the goal of 70 percent reduction in emissions. This creates economies of scale, so that we achieve both energy-efficient and economically attractive solutions. It is this sector linkage that will take our green transition to the next level.”

What is the government’s most important message to companies in the Danish energy sector?

“You all contribute impressively to driving the green transition – not only in the energy sector, but in all sectors. Your efforts are a big part of the reason why we have come so far in Denmark and a prerequisite for solving the concrete and major technological challenges on the way to the 70 percent target by 2030. Your work is state-of-the-art projects with the largest and most innovative solutions that contribute specifically to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Because we will only achieve this if the public and private sectors work together. Through our 13 climate partnerships with the business community, we have translated hundreds of recommendations on green transition to concrete policy. For example, 13 billion is invested in biogas and 16 billion for capturing and storing CO2.”

How important is sectoral coupling to achieve the goal?

“Sector coupling is very central to achieving the climate goal for 2030. It’s about learning from each other’s strengths to develop the best green transition. Power-to-X is sector coupling in its purest form and a crucial element in the transformation of those sectors that cannot be electrified directly. However, we are also working with sectoral coupling in other areas, and we must, among other things, develop a CCS strategy, a gas strategy, and a number of important analyses in the field of heating and electricity. Sectoral coupling is also an option that the energy islands offer, and here we also need to look at how, for example, energy efficiency can be used. Power-to-X can be connected in the long term.”

What is the main challenge for the government in 2021?

“There are many important tasks in the climate field this year – both at home and abroad. At home, we must, among other things, complete an electrification strategy, a Power-to-X strategy, a CCS strategy and not least a gas strategy. Internationally, the year’s most important task is COP26 in Glasgow in November, when it is important that we get more of the world’s biggest emitters to raise their national climate ambitions. Finally, we must take the next steps in the realisation of the energy islands so that we can ensure a massive Danish expansion with offshore wind as soon as possible.”

Which technology do you expect the biggest contribution to 2030 ambition from?

“Storing of CO2 plays a crucial role in achieving our ambitious climate goal of 70 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030. It is still too early to say exactly how much CCS can contribute in 2030, but it is realistic to make a significant contribution as it is a technology that is well tested. For example, it has been used for more than 20 years in Norway. According to GEUS, there are great opportunities for safe storage in the Danish underground. Therefore, it is now about getting the technology up and running in Denmark – getting it up to speed and down in price. Before the summer recess, the government will present a national strategy for CCS so that we can get the framework in place.”

Why is storage central to achieving goals – and what kind of storage do you see having the most impact in the Danish context?

“We cannot reach 70 percent without maturation and scaling of known technologies, such as storage. CCS can eliminate some of the discharges that are almost impossible to overcome in other ways, such as burning residual plastic in waste or heating lime to cement. When we use CCS technology on e.g., biomass-fired CHP plants, the capture and storage will remove CO2 from the atmosphere. This is necessary globally and can help us achieve our ambitious climate goals.”

How do you see the role of the energy island in relation to the 2030 and 2050 targets?

“With the energy islands, Denmark takes the lead and contributes to electrifying both Denmark and Europe with green Danish power. Green power is the basic prerequisite for the sustainable electrification of society. CO2 reductions are counted in the sectors where the green power is consumed. This is where the green power displaces fossil energy and has both national and global climate effects. This could be in heavy transport and industry, for example. The European Commission has estimated that achieving the goal of a climate neutrality Europe by 2050 requires 300 GW of offshore wind in Europe. Denmark has access to unique offshore wind resources in the North Sea that the energy islands allow us to exploit. The energy islands will be connected abroad via cable connections, so that the power that is not used in Denmark can be exported.”