By Karsten Hillmann, CEO of Solar Polaris, and Morten Slotved, Mayor of Hørsholm Municipality
Denmark must be greener. We need to emit less CO2. We have a pact across political divides for a low-carbon society by 2050. Unfortunately, the fact is that in 2016, we as Danes did not emit any less CO2 than in 2015. According to Statistics Denmark, we emitted more! Sad, but true.
Denmark's municipalities can do much to reduce their CO2 emissions, for example by renovating buildings, introducing electric cars and buying energy-consciously. Two out of three Danish municipalities are so-called "Climate Municipalities", where they commit to reducing the municipality's CO2 emissions by at least two percent each year for a minimum of five years. Hørsholm Municipality is a Climate Municipality.
Unfortunately, there are limits to what the municipality can initiate in order to achieve its goal.
In 2013, municipal photovoltaic plants were covered by the Electricity Supply Act and thus treated as a CHP plant. This means that municipalities are forced to set up independent companies for photovoltaic installations in, for example, a nursing home or a sports stadium. At the same time, any profit is offset against the block grant to the municipality. It no longer makes economic sense for municipalities to set up photovoltaic plants. The conversion to renewable energy has thus almost stalled in the municipalities and this cannot possibly have been the intention of the law.
There are solutions for the municipalities.
In Hørsholm Municipality we want to take responsibility for our share of CO2 emissions. We do not accept the terms set out by the Danish Electricity Act! Over the last eight years, we have laid out a plan and renovated our buildings and, among other things, created a CO2-neutral Sports Park.
It must be in everyone's interest for municipalities to be able to set up photovoltaic systems on their buildings so that they can produce environmentally friendly power for their own consumption in schools, day care centres, sports parks and nursing homes, thereby contributing to the conversion to renewable energy and the reduction of CO2 emissions. At the same time, it will mean savings that can improve the economy of the very same welfare buildings.
We would like to encourage the municipalities to participate in the climate fight. Find a model that suits your municipality. It is our future!
Now that the negotiations on the energy plan are underway, we expect solar energy to be on the agenda as an essential part of the future strategy and energy agreement with clear objectives.
Danes are ready for a balanced green conversion. Are our politicians – both in the municipalities and at Christiansborg – also ready?