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Energy City Frederikshavn

100% Renewable Energy Goal:

100% Renewable Electricity, Heat, and Transportation by 2015
[Read more about the project ]



Interview with Poul Rask Nielsen,
Project Manager of Energy City Frederikshavn


1. What inspired the decision for your community to pursue your 100% renewable energy goal?

In November 2006, a number of leading Danish energy experts gathered at the Energy Camp 06, where they designated Frederikshavn as the most obvious Danish city that had the potential to become Denmark's renewable energy city. The experts emphasized the city's qualities as special favorable for this particular project. Frederikshavn City Council adopted energy experts' recommendation and decided in spring 2007, that a geographically limited trial area, called "Energy City Frederikshavn" shall be provided with 100% renewable energy, where renewable energy should cover all consumption of electricity, heat and transport. Frederikshavn will be among the first cities in the modern world to switch from fossil to renewable energy supply. In addition, Frederikshavn must become a "demonstratorium" where Denmark’s leading energy technology will be developed, tested and demonstrated in full 1:1 scale.  


2. What mix of technologies have you used and/or do you intend to use? / Why have you made these choices?

The strategy of Energy City Frederikshavn is to focus on both energy saving activities and a unique energy concept for producing sustainable energy. The concept is based on the development of a coherent energy system, which combines various forms of renewable energy with the sole aim of balancing the production and consumption of renewable energy. The energy produced and consumed in the municipality of Frederikshavn will come primarily from biomass, waste and wind. A smaller part of the energy will come from solar, heat pumps etc. Some of the energy plants which will complete the project objectives already exist today. Other plants are in the planning stages and will be realized in the nearest future.


3. What have been the greatest obstacles so far? / If you have overcome any of them, how did you do it? 

When working with development of any kind there is always obstacles to overcome. Energy City Frederikshavn has experienced a lot of different barriers. One of the biggest challenges is to be the initiator of various projects, but not outright owner of the projects. Energy City Frederikshavn is dependent on other parties to take ownership and facilitate projects so that Energy City can initiate new sustainable efforts. That is an ongoing challenge which Energy City overcomes by focusing on cooperation and making other parties a part of the projects.


4. Were there policies that were particularly effective to helping your project advance? / Were there any policies or regulations that stood in your way, and if so, how have you handled this?

It has been a great advantage for Energy City Frederikshavn that a united city council is behind the decision to make a geographical defined area 100% supplied by renewable energy. The local politicians have decided that Frederikshavn Municipality actively has to contribute to Denmark's emissions of greenhouse gases and to be independent of fossil fuels by the year 2050. Frederikshavn Municipality has a long tradition to prioritize energy and environment particularly high. As the first municipality in Denmark in 2007 Frederikshavn signed an agreement with the Danish Society for Nature Conservation about 3% reduction in the municipality's own CO2 per year, and the first municipality in North Jutland joined Frederikshavn EU covenant of Mayors in April 2011. These concrete commitments have positive effects on Energy City as a project for developing growth in the sector of sustainable energy. The Mayor and the Chief Executive of Frederikshavn Municipality are in particular great ambassadors for the project of Energy City Frederikshavn.


5. What have been the greatest benefits of your projects so far?

The benefits by working within the area of green-tech and sustainable energy are growth in competences, growth in business development and growth in employment within lots of various industries. The work of Energy City Frederikshavn has in particular resulted in a change in the mind-set of the citizens throughout the entire municipality. Energy City experiences a large amount of positivity among the citizens. They are very focused on the fact that they actually are able to save money by investing in green improvements for their homes.  


6.  What has the process been of financing your project?

The secretariat of Energy City, responsible for the practical execution of the activities, is funded by a combination of a basic grant and external project funds from regional, national and the EU funds. The individual projects are driven on commercial basis e.g. as pilot projects or by other funding. 


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