By: Chloe LeValley and Henry Wong
The largest company in Denmark, A.P. Moller-Maersk, just sold its oil and gas firm to a French energy giant Total S.A last month.
The move was made three months after the major Denmark energy company, Dong Energy, sold their last oil and natural gas. This choice enabled them to invest more in building wind turbines and other renewable resources.
Both decisions show the determination of Denmark energy companies to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
“Any actions or pushes that will lead towards less CO2 emissions are welcomed,” said Rasmus Bjørn, the press advisor from the Ministry for Energy, Utilities and Climate.
The cost of extracting oil from North Sea is expensive it is cheaper for companies to rely more on renewable energy, he said. Bjørn added that no pressure was given to both companies by the government.
The Nordic country, which has the largest offshore wind farm developer in the world, promised to rely only on renewable energy by 2050. In 2015, Denmark has already been using more than 30% of green energy. In that same year, Denmark has also broken the world record of using 42% of wind power in the nation’s electricity consumption.
“I think Denmark has been regarded as the forefront or the forerunner in green energy,“ he said. Denmark sets an example to the world that renewable energy is worth investing in. It is important that the other countries will follow, Bjørn added.
In comparison, according to the Hong Kong official statistics, it is estimated that Hong Kong is currently relying almost 80% on fossil fuel in energy consumption. The amount of Greenhouse gas emission in Hong Kong has also risen more than 32% since 2002.
Although Hong Kong is lagging behind in developing renewable energy, our mother country is working hard in this aspect. China, one of the largest fossil fuel consumers in the world, is looking into the possibility in developing green energy. About a week ago, the head of China’s National Energy Administration visited Denmark to seek assistance and cooperation in building wind farms. After the meeting, Denmark’s energy minister has agreed to help China build more wind farm, although the specific details have not yet been confirmed.
As being one of the spearheads of development and promoting green energy, Denmark is confident that renewable energy is sustainable and reliable.
When asked about the risk of relying so heavily on renewable energy, Bjørn answered that security of supply would be the largest concern.
However, when the wind turbine cannot supply enough energy for the country, Denmark can always import energy from neighboring countries, for instance, Germany, Norway and Sweden, he explained.
“Essentially, connectivity is the answer to all the questions,” Bjørn said. He believed that in the future, European countries can cooperate and back up each other whenever there is an energy shortage.
Nills, a citizen living in a Copenhagen, welcomed the decisions made by the energy companies.
“I think Denmark is heading the right direction regarding the sources of energy, even though there is still a long way to go,” he said.
He added that he is confident that Denmark can fully rely on renewable energy in the near future.
Another Dane also shares similar views.
“I think it’s a very good idea that Dong Energy sold all their oil activities, it sends a signal that they are through with fossil fuel,” said Mr. Morten.
Morten, a 57-year-old substitute teacher, believed that the two companies made the decision because they have realized that relying on fossil fuel to provide energy is considered a dying business.
Even though, Denmark has decided to cut the use of fossil fuels, it is notable that the nation will still need the revenue from the North Sea oil and gas to support the cost of the renewable energy transition.
This story is written for an audience in Hong Kong and could be published on http://www.scmp.com/frontpage/hk.