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Brief description:

General policy, Energy and Climate change


According to the Danish political agreement on energy, CO2 emissions are to be reduced by 21 percent before 2012, specifically a 20 percent reduction in 2011 and a 30 percent reduction in 2020. To achieve this goal, energy saving efforts will be increased with a view to reducing the gross energy consumption by 2 percent in 2011 and 4 percent in 2020, compared to 2006. The long term aim is for Denmark to be entirely independent of fossil fuels, and that the use of such fossil fuels will be reduced by at least 15 percent in 2025.

In the report “Power to the People” from 2009 by the Danish Energy Association (DEA), it is estimated that CCS will help to remove 7.5 million tones of CO2 in Denmark in 2025 and just under 17 million tones of CO2 in 2050. This means that according to this report, in 2050 in Denmark CCS will be used in all coal fired stations and in many of the power stations burning biomass. The report goes on to state that at present CCS costs DKK 450-700 per tonne of CO2. But the next generation of technology is expected to be able to remove the CO2 for DKK per tonne. This corresponds to DKK 0.15-0.20 per kWh. In other for this scenario to occur however, the report from DEA says the research and development activities need to focus on making CO2 capture more efficient.


Danish geology is seen as being very suitable for CO2 storage and that combined with biomass the CCS could be carbon negative. Studies have shown that Danish subsoil is well suited for CCS. The subsoil storage of C02 must take place at locations with suitable geological conditions. In Denmark, this will typically be porous and permeable sandstone layers at depths of more than approximately 1.000 m. Another possibility would be to inject the CO2 into the fields of the North Sea.


The existing Danish Subsoil Act addresses the use of the subsoil for storage purposes, including CO2 storage.  The CCS directive contains a system for the allocation of exploration and storage licences in the connection with the deployment of carbon capture and storage. The directive is part of the EU’s climate and energy package, but it is up to each EU member state to decide if they want to use CCS technology. The rules of the new directive will be implemented into Danish law in the form of an amended Danish Subsoil Act.


Challenges and possibilities

In order for CCS to be developed further in Denmark, Danish politicians have to be willing to make some tough and brave decisions about what role CCS is to play as a climate mitigating factor in the future. The technology has so far not a part of public policy and the government hasn’t expressed a specific standpoint regarding the use of CCS in Denmark, beyond referring to the role that CCS plays in the EU’s official climate package.

Wind power is seen as being a very significant constraint for CCS in Denmark. Currently wind power covers around 20 percent of the annual electricity demand, but this is expected to increase to 50 percent of the annual electricity demand by 2025, and could thus further reduce the need for base-load thermal electricity generation. However, CCS could play a larger role in Denmark in the more medium term in combination with other technologies.

So far there has been little interest in CCS in Denmark. In September 2009 Vattenfall postponed their plans to build a full-scale CO2 plant for coal power in Denmark. The project which originally was set be operational in 2013, has now been postponed indefinitely due to a weaker financial outlook. The project was also hampered by strong local protests due to fear of leakage from the proposed CO2 site.

It is also a problem that public acceptance for the technology is lacking and has so far not been in place. There were plans for the government to raise awareness and start a public debate about CCS, but so far this hasn’t happened. It is known that active public engagement is key to building public understanding.  There has been concern in local Danish communities about the safety of these projects, especially with regard to leakages.

At the moment it is mostly up to the big energy companies to set the agenda for CCS in Denmark. This lack of political interest could also prove problematic since it is believed that government support is essential in the demonstration stage of CCS projects. The question of long-term liability regarding the legal implications if something were to go wrong with a CCS project in Denmark needs to be given more consideration as well.

Power to the people DEA 


UNFCC GHG emission information