Denmark cuts CO2 emissions from China’s coal-fired power plants

Date: 02/02/2016

The 25th-27th January 2016 the Danish Minister for Energy, Utility and Climate Lars Chr. Lilleholt was in China to follow up on the Paris climate change agreement from COP21. China is the world’s largest renewable energy market, and the agreement creates increased export opportunities for Denmark.

China is the world’s largest energy consumer and the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. At the same time the country is also the world’s largest market for renewable energy. For instance, it is expected that China will install wind power corresponding to twice of Europe’s total wind capacity in just five years.

Denmark can create great effect on the climate in China
During the visit, the Minister will discuss the way forward after COP21 and sign a cooperation agreement with China’s Ministry of Energy. The cooperation agreement focuses on increasing the flexibility of Chinese power plants, in order for the Chinese to exploit their wind energy better and turn down the production of coal fired power plants.

“China is one of the main players in the Paris climate change agreement, and it is crucial that the agreement is followed up with action. We can help the Chinese make better use of the renewable energy they produce, by making Chinese power plants more flexible. If China’s power plants were as flexible as Danish power plants, China’s CO2 emissions may be reduced by 30 million tonnes, which is equivalent to 75 per cent of Denmark’s energy-related CO2 emissions, which means that cooperation can potentially have a major positive effect on the climate”, says Lars Chr. Lilleholt.

In 2014, Denmark exported energy technology to China for almost DKK 3 billion, and the Confederation of Danish Industry estimates that exports will triple by 2030 as the climate agreement at COP21 is implemented.

“The cooperation is a good example that Denmark’s success in the global green transition after COP21 should be measured on our ability to generate export, growth and Danish jobs while also ensuring significant global climate effects by collaborating with the big emerging economies and CO2 emitters”, says Lars Chr. Lilleholt.


  • China overtook the United States in 2007 as the world’s largest emitter of energy-related CO2 and contributed in 2013 to 27 per cent. of global CO2 emissions.
  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that China the next five years will account for almost 40 per cent of all new renewable energy installation in the world, and will therefore install more wind, solar and hydropower than the EU, the US and India combined.
  • In 2014, China erected five times as many wind turbines as Denmark’s total capacity.
  • Denmark has about 500 enterprises in China. China is the second largest trading partner outside the European Union – second only to the United States. A number of large and medium-sized Danish companies within energy technology is present in China.
  • According to the latest figures, China was the sixth largest export market for Danish energy technology, with exports of DKK 2.7 billion in 2014. The Confederation of Danish Industry expects that exports could be up to triple to DKK 9 billion 2030 in line with the implementation of COP21 Agreement.

Source: The Danish Ministry for Energy, Utility and Climate / State of Green