The Danish focus on energy efficiency initiated during the oil crisis in the 1970s, where we had to make ourselves more independent of oil as an energy source. A more efficient use of energy was a safe and cheap way to increase this independence and thereby increasing security of supply. Since then, climate considerations have been a player in the desire to improve and reduce energy consumption. Energy efficiency plays an important element in achieving Denmark’s ambitious goal of 70 pct. reduction of CO2-emission by 2030 and has the potential to reduce the costs of the green transition significantly. Several types of instruments have been implemented, and now new tools, data- and digitalization are pushing the limits of the potential of energy savings. The energy supply system is under constant evolution, and in the process of the green transition, it is crucial that the effort of energy efficiency is considered as part of the whole energy system.
Initiative of energy streamlining
Denmark has carried out many initiatives in order to ensure a reduction of the Danish energy consumption. The initiatives are divided into three different types of instruments.
- Financial instruments:Fees on energy and subsidies to energy improving initiatives create incentives to energy improvements. Danish households and the industry have access to financial aid schemes that incite substantial energy savings for instance through conversion of oil and gas burners to sustainable heating sources such as electric heat pumps and retrofit of buildings. Moreover, the financial aid schemes are contributing to reach the Danish target of 70 percent emission reduction in 2030.
- Normative instruments:Statutory requirements and regulation may have a direct impact on the energy consumption by means of prohibitions or injunctions as to e.g. minimum standards. It includes, among other things, the energy requirements in building regulations.
- Informative instruments: A series of instruments are based on an increased level of information to the end users about energy consumption in order to have an influence on consumer behavior and to inform about potential energy savings. This includes e.g. energy labelling of buildings and products and a comprehensive information
The above efforts address households, the industry and public services. Read more at the website of the Danish Energy Agency about tangible efforts of energy efficiency improvements.
Energy Efficiency on EU Level
Energy efficiency is a prioritized agenda at EU level, and Denmark is supporting an ambitious EU policy on this matter. Energy efficiency plays a key role in order to reach the EU’s new binding net domestic reduction target of at least 55 percent in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990. The EU has a common non-binding target for energy efficiency improvements of 32.5 percent by 2030. The European Commission has as part of the Fit for 55-package proposed to increase the target to approximately 36 percent by 2030.
At European level, legislation in the field of energy efficiency is adopted in order to contribute to the horizontal target.
- The Directive on energy efficiency requires the Member States to obtain an annual energy reduction of 0.8 percent, and that energy intensive companies compose an energy audit that shows potentials of energy savings.
- The Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings sets requirements as to energy savings and energy labelling of buildings.
Finally, a category of the EU legislation relates to energy efficiency concerning energy consumption in products such as boilers, domestic appliances, light sources and television:
- The Directive on Ecodesign sets the framework for common European energy requirements of products.
- The Directive on energy labelling sets the framework for the European energy label, and thereby the energy efficiency of the products.
Requirements to energy consumption and energy labelling of products are valid for all products on the EU single market and have turned out to be a smart and cost-efficient way of obtaining important energy savings.