OPINION: Denmark should do more for environmentally-friendly electric transport

Denmark, a country committed to sustainable energy, lacks legislative commitment to CO2-free transport, argues our guest columnist Kristian Gosvig.

OPINION: Denmark should do more for environmentally-friendly electric transport
Photo: Urbanwheel

Denmark is known to be on the forefront of technology in a lot of different aspects. The country produces more renewable energy than it uses, yet in some aspects the legislation for the country does not at all seem to favour a future with less CO2.

For several years, Denmark has subsidised electric cars, thereby promoting the shift towards more CO2-neutral transport. 

In 2015, the government announced that these subsidies would be phased out over the next couple of years. As a result, sales of electric cars for the first quarter of 2017 dropped to just 25 percent of sales for the same period the year before. 

The growth of electric cars has ground to a halt, and it seems that Denmark in general is not very fond of electric transport. When it comes to personal transport, there seems to be a trend towards more and more types of vehicles running on electricity, particularly with the rapid increase in battery technology over the last few years. 

A lot of electric bikes have been made illegal, in a country that is otherwise known for its bicycle-friendly culture.

Now let's be real about it, people will ride their bikes in Denmark whatever happens. But electric innovations such as segboards and hoverboards have been made illegal completely regardless of their specifications. 

Photo: Urbanwheel

Electric scooters are either illegal or need to be registered with Denmark's Traffic Authority (Trafikstyrelsen) as an actual scooter if they are capable of speeds of over 15 kilometres per hour

All of these modes of transport are innovations that could encourage people to use their petrol powered vehicle less, but they are forbidden. 

Neither does a comparison between Denmark and the rest of the world on this issue show it in a favourable light.

The other Scandinavian countries have all made more accommodating legislation for electric personal transport then Denmark. 

READ ALSO: Half of new cars in Norway now electric or hybrid

A country like Spain, that has huge potential to use solar energy, yet no real desire to make the shift swiftly, has made the above-mentioned vehicles completely legal. 

They don’t seem to endanger the streets any more than pedestrians, and in Barcelona, recently-introduced regulations apply only to the beach promenade, a measure taken primarily to protect tourists rather than due to any real concern about the electric vehicles. 

In the rest of Spain, the different electric forms of transport are completely legal. 

The irony of all of this is, of course, that Denmark is in general a green country, capable of producing over 100 percent of its of its energy use from wind, and with a tangible interest in being at the forefront of green technology. 

READ ALSO: Copenhagen agrees plan for multimillion spend on 28,000 new trees

Yet it seems that on some very fundamental areas Denmark is lacking behind countries that it normally would be embarrassed to compare itself with – at least when it comes to taking initiative for a greener tomorrow. 

Kristian Gosvig writes on behalf of


Could the Norwegian government introduce a cap on energy prices? 

Due to soaring prices, the Norwegian government is mulling over several solutions, including a potential price cap for electricity and limiting energy exports abroad. 

Could the Norwegian government introduce a cap on energy prices? 

High energy exports in the last 12 months, low filling levels in Norwegian reservoirs and an uncertain energy situation around Europe have led to soaring electricity prices in southern Norway. 

Last year the government introduced a scheme whereby it covers 80 percent of consumers’ energy bills where the price rose above 70 øre/kWh. The portion of the bill under 70 øre is paid in full by households. The portion the government covers will increase to 90 percent in October. 

Critics have argued that the current scheme still leaves households struggling with their bills. As a result, Norway’s government has said it is mulling its options to curb energy bills.

Norway primarily depends on hydroelectric dams to help it meet its energy needs. Still, reservoirs in southern Norway have been at the lowest level for ten years, public broadcaster NRK reports. 

Low reservoir filling over the past year has conceded with record exports with higher prices on the continent, making sending power abroad an enticing proposition.

Recently, exports have fallen significantly, and the government is considering introducing a limit to reduce the possibility of energy rationing being introduced this winter. 

“Restrictions on the export of electricity to Europe may be one of the measures that is needed,” Elisabeth Sæther, state secretary at the Ministry of Oil and Energy, told NRK. 

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre ruled out completely shutting off exports to the continent. 

“It is a dangerous thought and will not serve us well. It could give us more expensive power and lack of power in given situations. We will hardly be able to import power when we need it without contributing to other countries when they need it. There is a reciprocity in this,” he told the newspaper Aftenposten earlier in the week. 

Sæther also told NRK that the government was weighing up putting a maximum price on energy but warned that it could have unforeseen consequences. 

“We are afraid that a maximum price means that more water is drawn into the reservoirs, which we need for the winter. It is a serious situation. We must prevent ourselves from getting into a situation where we lack enough power this winter,” she told the broadcaster. 

At the end of May, the state-owned Statnett announced that the supply situation in Norway might be under strain – in some scenarios – all the way up to and through the winter, especially if Southern Norway experiences drier than usual weather in the second part of the year.