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ENERGY

What do Denmark’s politicians want to do about high energy prices?

The rocketing costs of energy in Denmark are becoming an increasingly important issue, with political parties set begin discussing possible relief measures.

A Danish electricity socket. The country's political parties have begun discussing how to respond to a drastic increase in energy prices.
A Danish electricity socket. The country's political parties have begun discussing how to respond to a drastic increase in energy prices. File photo: Kristian Djurhuus/Ritzau Scanpix

Both electricity and petrol have gone up significantly in price, making everyday living costs in Denmark notably higher.

Minister for Climate and Energy Dan Jørgensen invited representatives from other parties to initial talks on Tuesday about the high energy prices prior to negotiations over potential measures, broadcaster DR reported.

The government takes the issue “very seriously”, the minister previously told DR in a written statement, but no specific plan for a response has yet been outlined.

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So far, 100 million kroner have been earmarked in this year’s budget for municipalities to use to give subsidies to low-income persons receiving social welfare benefits and people who receive the state pension. The fund is a top-up to an existing scheme.

Talks in parliament over the present situation will revolve around whether additional money should be spent helping people who now find themselves facing huge energy bills.

The negotiations are likely to revolve around the nature of any measures and how much should be spent, according to DR.

The Conservative and Danish People’s Parties want 2.7 billion kroner to be spent on people who are hardest-hit by the high prices. That figure comes from a saving the government has made on subsidies to the sustainable energy industry, which are not due because of the revenues the industry is seeing because of the prices. A degree of uncertainty can be attached to the 2.7 billion figure, which is a calculation.

READ ALSO: Could high costs for Danish producers be passed on to customers?

The Liberal Alliance party wants to cut energy taxes, including a reduction to electricity tax to bring it down to the minimum set by the EU, DR writes.

The Liberal (Venstre) party, the largest party in opposition, said on Tuesday it was vital that a response to the situation in some form was agreed upon.

“There are different models for a solution, but what is crucial must be to make bills cheaper,” Liberal climate and energy spokesperson Marie Bjerre told news wire Ritzau.

The Liberals are also in favour of a tax reduction for electricity, Ritzau writes.

On the left wing, the Red Green Alliance and Socialist People’s Party say they want more government spending on energy subsidies.

The latter party said it did not support cutting taxes, with spokesperson Signe Munk telling Ritzau that energy tax reforms “should be looked in an overall political negotiation which both takes into account the long-term effects and supports CO2 reduction”.

“What we have right now is an extraordinary increase in prices,” Munk said.

The centre-left Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) party appeared sceptical about the redeployment of funding from other areas of government spending on energy.

“It is like buying an iron for 200 kroner with a 500 kroner saving and saying you now have 500 kroner,” the party’s energy spokesperson Rasmus Helveg Petersen told newspaper Berlingske in reference to the discussion of using savings from the unused sustainable energy subsidies.

The governing Social Democrats so far remain the only party not to have made its position clear on how to respond to the energy price crisis.

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ENERGY

Denmark and three other EU nations want to increase North Sea wind power tenfold by 2050

EU members Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium on Wednesday said they wanted to increase their North Sea wind power capacity tenfold by 2050 to help the bloc achieve its climate goals and avoid Russian hydrocarbons.

Denmark and three other EU nations want to increase North Sea wind power tenfold by 2050

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the plan would mean the four countries would “deliver more than half of all offshore wind needed to reach climate neutrality in the European Union”.

The increase would make the North Sea “the green power plant of Europe”, she told a news conference in the port of Esbjerg in western Denmark.

“Setting a vision is not enough, we will make it happen,” Frederiksen added, flanked by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, Dutch premier Mark Rutte and Belgian leader Alexander De Croo.

The countries’ goal is to raise wind power capacity fourfold to 65 gigawatts by 2030 and then tenfold to almost 150 gigawatts by 2050.

They said 150 gigawatts of offshore wind power would supply 230 million homes with electricity.

Such a capacity would amount to 15,000-20,000 wind turbines, based on the most powerful ones currently on the market.

The announcement comes as the European Commission presented a plan to accelerate the development of renewable energy worth 210 billion euros ($220 billion) to reduce the bloc’s dependence on Russian gas as quickly as possible.

The European Union has already said it will end imports of Russian coal by August.

An embargo on Russian oil as part of a sixth sanctions package against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine is proving more contentious after Hungary raised objections.

The commission has said it wants to reduce purchases of Russian gas by two-thirds this year and completely before 2030.

On Wednesday it proposed to increase the proportion of renewable energies in the bloc’s energy mix from 40 percent to 45 percent by 2030.

The 27-nation EU aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

READ ALSO: Danish offshore wind could help Europe ditch fossil fuels

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