A coalition of ambitious countries are aiming to phase out the use of coal in their electricity supply by 2030. Denmark is part of the initiative that was presented at the UN Climate Conference, COP23, in Bonn today.
“The price of renewable energy is rapidly decreasing and we have reached a point where offshore wind parks are cheaper than new coal power plants in Denmark. Therefore, the government believes that coal is an element of the past in Denmark’s electricity production. We want to send coal on retirement no later than 2030. The future belongs to renewable energy sources in Denmark. At the same time, this is how we can deliver on our promises from the Paris Agreement together, and it is a pleasure to announce it here at the climate summit in Bonn today”, says the Danish Minister for Energy, Utilities and Climate, Lars Chr. Lilleholt.
In Denmark, there remains three central coal fired facilities, located on Fynsværket (owned by Funen District Heating) and Nordjyllandsværket (owned by Aalborg energy concern) respectively. Esbjergværket (owned by Orsted) is also coal-fired. Orsted (previously known as DONG Energy) announced February 2nd, 2017, that by 2023 they will phase out coal from their power plants, which includes Esbjergværket.
“I will now enter into dialogue with the power plants that are still using coal, in order to transition them to a more environmentally friendly form of electricity. Many power plants are already well underway with the transition, and with the huge reductions in the price of renewable energy that have occurred in recent years, coal can be retired without causing a rise in energy prices, weaken competition or cause a dip in growth or employment. So I am optimistic about reaching the target and removing coal entirely from Denmark’s electricity supply by 2030”, continues Lars Chr. Lilleholt.
Facts about the initiative
-The coalition of ambitious countries that want to phase out coal from their electricity supply before 2030 is called ”Global Alliance to Power Past Coal” and currently consists of 19 countries. Canada and the UK initiated the alliance that also includes Denmark, Angola, Finland, Italy, France, Holland, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Ethiopia, Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica and the Marshall Islands. Additionally, several American states and regions have joined the alliance.
-Following the first oil crisis in 1973-74, coal consumption in Denmark increased in Denmark, as power plants converted from oil to coal. The consumption of coal peaked around 1990, when natural gas, biomass and wind power began to be introduced into the electricity supply. The vast majority of coal is used in power plants.
-The declaration that the Minister for Energy, Utilities and Climate Lar Chr. Lilleholt signed today is not legally binding, but it contains statements of intent regarding what the signing parties (countries, companies and organisations) are expected to deliver.
-The countries commit themselves to phase out all existing traditional coal power that is under their authority and to a moratorium for new traditional coal power plants without carbon capture and storage (CCS).
-All parties commit themselves to support clean energy (public and private to the extent that is possible) through investments and to limiting the financing of traditional coal power that lack CCS facilities.
Source: Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate