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ENERGY

Danish businesses and households share burden of high energy bills

Businesses and households alike face soaring energy bills in Denmark in 2021.

Lower-than-expected wind levels are among factors causing a combination of low supply and high demand for energy.
Lower-than-expected wind levels are among factors causing a combination of low supply and high demand for energy. Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Ritzau Scanpix

New calculations from interest organisation Dansk Industri Energi show that industry is expected to pay 18 billion kroner for energy this year.

That is double the 9.5-billion kroner bill incurred in 2019, the last year to be unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s certain that this is being felt by businesses out there,” said sector director with Dansk Industri Energi, Troels Ranis.

A number of factors are behind escalating energy prices, which are impacting businesses and households alike.

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These include global economic growth following the end of the first wave of coronavirus lockdowns.

That has resulted in increased industrial activity and thereby high demand for energy.

This high demand has coincided with less wind and lower rainfall in Norway producing less sustainable energy; and a relatively constant supply of gas from Russia.

“The basic principle of economics is being manifested. A large demand and low supply gives high prices,” Ranis said.

High energy costs incurred by businesses are likely to be passed to customers, the sector director predicted.

“Prices go up. That’s the short of it. And that’s how it has to be when energy prices increase because this makes it more expensive to produce,” he said.

“And that is passed on to the price of products,” he added.

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ENERGY

Sweden to stop local governments blocking wind parks in final stages

Sweden's government has proposed a new law which will remove local municipalities' power to block wind parks in the final stages of the planning process, as part of a four-point plan to speed up the expansion of wind power.

Sweden to stop local governments blocking wind parks in final stages

“We are doing this to meet the increased need for electricity which is going to come as a result of our green industrial revolution,” Strandhäll said at a press conference. 

“It is important to strengthen Sweden by rapidly breaking our dependence on fossil fuels, building out our energy production and restructuring our industry. The Swedish people should not be dependent on countries like Russia to drive their cars or warm their homes.”

“We are going to make sure that municipalities who say “yes” to wind power get increased benefits,” she added in a press statement. “In addition, we are going to increase the speed with which wind power is built far offshore, which can generally neither be seen or heard from land.” 

While municipalities will retain a veto over wind power projects on their territory under the proposed new law, they will have to take their decision earlier in the planning process to prevent wind power developers wasting time and effort obtaining approvals only for the local government to block projects at the final stags. 

“For the local area, it’s mostly about making sure that those who feel that new wind parks noticeably affect their living environment also feel that they see positive impacts on their surroundings as a result of their establishment,” Strandhäll said.  “That might be a new sports field, an improved community hall, or other measures that might make live easier and better in places where wind power is established.” 

According to a report from the Swedish Energy Agency, about half of the wind projects planned since 2014 have managed to get approval. But in recent years opposition has been growing, with the opposition Moderate, Swedish Democrats, and Christian Democrat parties increasingly opposing projects at a municipal level. 

Municipalities frequently block wind park projects right at the end of the planning process following grassroots local campaigns. 

The government a month ago sent a committee report, or remiss, to the Council on Legislation, asking them to develop a law which will limit municipal vetoes to the early stages of the planning process. 

At the same time, the government is launching two inquiries. 

The first will look into what incentives could be given to municipalities to encourage them to allow wind farms on their land, which will deliver its recommendations at the end of March next year. In March, Strandhäll said that municipalities which approve wind farm projects should be given economic incentives to encourage them to accept projects on their land. 

The second will look into how to give the government more power over the approvals process for wind projects under Sweden’s environmental code. This will deliver its recommendations at the end of June next year. 

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