Businesses praise government energy plan

Plan to convert agricultural waste into biogas for energy production could create economic growth, business and industrial lobby groups argue

Businesses are resoundingly supportive of the government’s plan to make Denmark independent of fossil fuels by 2050.

The plan, unveiled last month and which aims to create 6,400 new jobs by transferring energy production to green energy alternatives such as wind and biomass, has been praised for benefiting both the climate and the environment.

Both Dansk Industri and Dansk Erhverv – the nation's two largest business interest groups – support the plan that ”sets a clear course that both strengthens our energy security and the long-sighted investment in the energy sector”.

The organisations find the green energy switchover essential and point out that it also holds the potential  for economic growth if it is properly implemented.

Dansk Industri believes that the plan has many positive initiatives that spreads the burden of the switchover from gas, coal and oil to carbon neutral energy sources, while also protecting the competitive ability of businesses.

The World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace have also praised the plan.

However, at least one anonymous executive with agricultural lobby group, Landbrug og Fødevarer, said he feared the plan would cost businesses up to a half a billion kroner in levies which could cost jobs and competitivity.

The executive, however, might not have realised that the plan paved the way for large-scale investment in biomass facilities – which convert manure and other organic waste into biogas that can then be burned in power plants – that the agricultural and energy sectors have long demanded.

The plan will provide a 30 percent subsidy to establish a biomass facility as well as an extra subsidy if the construction of the plant is promptly started. Other subsidies will be provided to those using biogas for powering transport or other industries as well as those adding the gas to the gas network.

If biogas power plants are not built, the government will force 25 to 50 heating power plants to use biogas in order to ensure that there is a market. The goal is produce enough biomass facilities to convert half of Denmark’s manure into energy.

Despite the benefits outlined by energy industry organisation Dansk Energi, the political opposition has not responded with much enthusiasm for the government's plan.

Lars Aagard, managing director of Dansk Energi, told Jyllands-Posten the opposition ought to realise the potential of a conversion to renewable energy.

“We hope that the political parties can see that the plan unifies more than it divides. Without this plan we would have no framework for investment in new windparks, biomass plants, and cables and infrastructure for electric cars. Waiting will only make it more expensive for Danes.”