As It Happens

Denmark, already a clean energy leader, plans to build artificial island for wind farms

Denmark has set ambitious targets in its part to fight climate change — and it plans on building one or more artificial islands that will store power from offshore wind farms.

Danish parliament member Signe Munk says country hopes to become carbon-neutral by 2050

The first mill of an offshore wind farm is seen near the island of Anholt, Denmark, in the Kattegat Sea, on Sept. 5, 2012. (Jens Dresling/Polfoto via AP)
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Denmark has set ambitious targets in its part to fight climate change — and its plans include building one or more artificial islands that will store power from offshore wind farms.

Signe Munk, a member of Danish parliament's left-green party Socialistisk Folkeparti, says the island would be the nexus of "a huge wind farm" generating and storing 10 gigawatts of energy.

That's roughly the same amount of energy required to supply 10 million households, according to Reuters.

"We have an ambition that the Danish energy supply will be only from renewable energy sources — and one of them is wind power," Munk told As It Happens host Carol Off.

"And therefore, it's important for us to build the capacity or increase that capacity."

Denmark's energy ministry has said the plans could cost between 200 and 300 billion Danish crowns ($39-59 billion Cdn), and would mainly be funded by the private sector.

Signe Munk is a member of Danish Parliament's left-green Socialistisk Folkeparti. (Socialistisk Folkeparti)

Last week, eight of the 10 parties in the Danish parliament committed to a legally-binding Climate Act that set a target of reducing the country's greenhouse gas emissions by 70 per cent by 2030, and reaching carbon-neutral levels by 2050.

The act sets objectives to "outline concrete policies to reduce emissions in all sectors," including energy, housing and transportation, the energy ministry said in a statement.

"We also want to produce more than we can use in Denmark, because then we can sell it to other countries," said Munk.

Forty-one per cent of Denmark's energy production came from wind power in 2018 — the highest level in Europe, according to Danish transmission systems operator Energinet.

A speed boat passed by offshore windmills in the North Sea near Esbjerg, Denmark, on Oct. 30, 2002. Forty-one per cent of Denmark’s energy currently comes from renewable sources, including wind power. (The Associated Press)

In its latest annual Emission Gap Report, the United Nations Environment Program said the planet is headed toward warming of 3.2 C in less than 100 years without drastic action.

Munk was just in Madrid for the COP 25 climate conference. She says Denmark's climate action plan "was creating hope among a lot of foreign countries" based on her conversations with attending representatives.

Munk couldn't say how much carbon-based energy and fuel would be used to actually build the island and wind farms, but affirmed that the project would ultimately pay for itself in clean energy.

"Every first structure or new power plant will take energy to build; a coal power plant will also take energy to build. But the main target here is to produce clean energy for the future energy needs, and that is what we are aiming for when we are building offshore wind," she said.


Written by Jonathan Ore with files from CBC News. Produced by Katie Geleff.

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