denmark renewable energy

Renewable Energy

in Denmark



fix figure out infrastructure
aim fossil fuel on the way
lane constant essentially
excess waste (2) accident (2)
path turbine starting point
trash smell (2) accessibility
thrive efficient enormous
unique turn into what’s the point
coal plant (2) impressive
tackle massive temporary
watt ditch (2) blow/blew/blown
mega subsidize carbon (2)
hydro attitude shut down
avoid pipe (2) pretty (2)


Video: Renewable Energy in Denmark



Right now, everyone’s trying to figure out how to fix climate change.

But, what if I told you there’s a place that’s already figured this out?

Journalist: “When did you start cycling?”
Klaus Bondam, Director, Danish Cyclists’ Federation: “Basically, after I could walk.”

Denmark aims to ditch fossil fuels completely by 2050. And it’s already well on the way.


Well, four things, essentially.

Klaus Bondam, Director, Danish Cyclists’ Federation: “If you really want to see the Danes, go out on the bicycle lanes and you’ll meet them all there.”

First up, bikes.

Klaus Bondam, Director, Danish Cyclists’ Federation: “In Denmark, you will see basically everyone cycling: members of the Royal Family cycle. Ministers in the government cycle. Business leader cycle, nurses cycle, teachers cycle, journalists cycle.

In the city of Copenhagen, 43% of all work places and study places are reached by cycle.”

And that’s no accident.

Journalist: “When I think about the US, you constantly feel that you’re about to die.”
Klaus Bondam, Director, Danish Cyclists’ Federation: “You shouldn’t be like that. It’s basically all kinds of infrastructure that makes the accessibility for the cyclist comfortable, effective and easy.”

It’s not just bike paths that connect the city; it’s also a super-unique heating system.

And that’s reason number two this is one of the greenest places on the earth: district heating.

They’re burning trash to do it.

Journalist: “Does it smell?”
Ulla Rottger, CEO Amager Ressource Center: “Yes. Very much. We say it smells of money.”
Journalist: “The idea is that you’re taking basically all the trash and waste of Copenhagen and you’re turning it into heat essentially, right?
Ulla Rottger, CEO Amager Ressource Center: “Heat and electricity. About 80% goes to heat, and 20% goes to electricity.”
Journalist: “And how does that heating system work?”
Ulla Rottger, CEO Amager Ressource Center: “Pipes go out from here. Actually Copenhagen is filled with pipes for this heating, for the hot water. We can use it for cooling in the summertime.”

That’s much more efficient that each house heating itself.

And no waste.

Next up — wind . . . which you can see pretty easily from a hundred-forty meters up.

This is the top of one of the most powerful wind turbines on Earth.

Journalist: “So how did it happen that Denmark become the wind power capital of the world?
Henrik Baek Jorgensen, MHI Vestas: “You can feel up here, the wind conditions are pretty nice. That’s one good starting point.
Journalist: “So what’s the point of making them so enormous, besides that it’s just massively impressive?”
Henrik Baek Jorgensen, MHI Vestas: “This is one of the main things that will help bring down the cost of installing lots of turbines.”

All of this wind power has created a new sort of problem, if you want to call it that, one that Denmark is trying to solve by connecting its power system to other countries.

Denmark sometimes makes more wind power than it can use. And that means all coal plants temporarily can be shut down.

Gitte Agersbaek, Energinet.Dk: “We are exporting 700 megawatts to Sweden.”

They sell the excess power to nearby countries.

And when the wind isn’t blowing, they buy hydro and nuclear.

There’s nothing magical about Denmark. It subsidizes clean energy, taxes cars, and puts a price on carbon pollution. This green revolution starts simply with a change in attitude.

As the world talks and talks about how to tackle climate change, the politicians should take a look at tiny Denmark.

This is one of the happiest places on Earth, and has a thriving economy.

The only difference between the Danes and us: they’ve decided to do what it really takes to avoid disastrous warming.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


1. What is the government’s goal?

2. Everyone in Denmark wants to own and drive Mercedes and BMWs, and only children and the poor ride bicycles. Is this true or false? Is it convenient to ride bicycles in Danish cities?

3. Do Danes dump their garbage in landfills? What do they do with garbage?

4. Are homes in cities centrally or individually heated?

5. The wind turbines only supplement the electric power system. Is this right or wrong? Do they store surplus electricity in batteries?

6. Scientists don’t know about how to solve climate change and pollution. Is this correct or incorrect?

7. Is the government promoting green, renewable energy? How is it doing that?


A. How popular is bicycling riding in your city and country? What do people think about riding bikes compared to driving?

B. Would burning garbage — cleanly — provide lots of electrical energy?

C. Are there wind turbines where you live?

D. What are people’s attitudes about cars and the environment? What does the government think?

E. What will happen in the future?

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