Transition to 100% renewable energy systems in Denmark

Niels I Meyer, Frede Hvelplund, Peter Karnø, Henrik Lund, Brian Mathiesen, Poul Erik Morthorst

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The world is faced with urgent and complex climate problems manifested by increasing global warming due to emission of greenhouse gases. A major part of the greenhouse gases arise in the form of CO2 from combustion of fossil fuels. So far, however, international negotiations aiming at commitments for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions have not been successful – in spite of supplementary problems in relation to “Peak Oil”. This paper presents the main results of a project analysing the solutions for a transition to 100 % renewable energy systems in Denmark before 2050 with focus on new and efficient policy instruments. It is documented that the present energy system dominated by fossil fuels can be replaced by a system based completely on renewable energy with a large part of intermittent sources like wind and solar. This transition can be implemented using known technologies in combination with significant energy conservation and is shown to give rise to social-economic benefits. The paper includes proposals for efficient policy means in some of the important demand sectors. The transition requires new systems thinking and new planning principles for energy investments. With large contributions from intermittent sources like wind and solar it is necessary to integrate the electricity, heat and transport sectors much closer than in traditional supply systems based on fossil fuels. The paper includes a detailed “road map” for the transition. The planning of the transition requires longer time horizons than the commercial market can offer. As a consequence, it is proposed that the balance between the commercial market and societal planning is shifted to the advantage of societal planning. It is an extra benefit from the proposed transition to a renewable energy system that it significantly improves the Danish energy supply security in relation to Peak Oil and the expected increasing oil price.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusSubmitted - 2020

Cite this

Meyer, N. I., Hvelplund, F., Karnø, P., Lund, H., Mathiesen, B., & Morthorst, P. E. (2020). Transition to 100% renewable energy systems in Denmark. Manuscript submitted for publication.