A sweeping plan to dramatically increase the European Union’s use of renewable energy sources by 2020 has Danish politicians and exporters looking towards a greener future.
Renewable energy use in the EU currently sits at 6 percent, but, according to BÃ¸rsen financial daily, the European Commission’s forthcoming proposal for a common energy policy would increase that level to 20 percent within two decades.
Much of the increase will rely on sources such as wind and bio-ethanol, areas where the nation is already strongly represented on the world market. Exporters are seeing the proposal as an opportunity to increase their share of European sales.
‘An goal of 20 percent renewable energy in the EU would mean growth in Denmark,’ said Bjarne Lundager Jensen, president of the Danish Wind Industry Association.
Renewables already make up 16 percent of Denmark’s energy supplies, and while some investment has been made in European wind parks, the focus of many companies has been on more lucrative markets further abroad.
Companies such as Novozymes, which produces half of the world’s enzymes used in the production of ethanol, said it would take a second look at the EU if the region had a more ambitious energy policy.
The EU proposal is likely to require that biofuels make up 10 percent of all vehicle fuels.
‘We forecast 20 percent growth in the coming years, but that’s primarily due to the US market. Growth in Europe would only add to that,’ said Steen Rissgaard, Novozymes president.
Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen had pushed for an EU-wide goal of 25 percent by 2025. Despite the slightly lower goal, members of the PM’s Liberal Party were calling the proposal a win for the environment.
‘This is great. Denmark can’t do much alone, so if energy policies are to have an effect, it’s important that we set common goals,’ said Lars Christian Lilleholt, a Liberal spokesperson.
The opposition said it would continue to work to unilaterally increase the nation’s renewable energy use beyond the 20 percent goal.