Wants UAE to lead the way to renewable energy sources

Copenhagen: During the second week of the COP15 climate change conference here, thousands of politicians, civil society representatives, and journalists converged at the Bella Centre where Deputy State Secretary of Denmark, Hans Jorgen Koch, says there very well may be a “no regret solution”.

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Also managing the Danish Energy Agency, Koch, stressed that with or without a legally binding agreement what will emerge can enhance energy security and decrease energy dependence both of which are massive preoccupations for the European Union. Along with the unprecedented global public awareness raised in Copenhagen, this “no regret solution” is positive for an enlarged Europe that is struggling to become less dependent on Russia (and to avoid Iran) for gas, not to mention oil from the Middle East. In the end, gaining energy security will mean cutting consumption and relying more on renewables.

As part of ongoing negotiations, the EU has pledged to contribute over 30 billion euros (Dh160.5 billion) now to developing countries by 2020. Denmark will naturally contribute.

Koch also mentioned a long list of projects already under way that are directed both at the eastern European bloc, via the Joint Implementation as well as to developing countries, such as Malaysia, Egypt, China and Thailand, via the Clean Development Mechanism. Both scenarios permit Annex I (essentially industrialised) countries to gain “carbon credits” by helping to lower carbon emissions in developing countries.

Koch affirmed that despite controversy over the carbon trading scheme, the “transfer of technology may not have taken place otherwise”.

As the third most eco-friendly country in the world, after Japan and Switzerland, Denmark is also at the forefront of domestic energy planning. The Danes rely on over 50 per cent of their electricity on a combination of thermal and wind power, which means that excess hot water is used for heating in houses.

Height of efficiency

This high efficiency coupled with new buildings that have better insulation has brought electricity consumption down by 25 per cent in the past ten years.

Koch confirmed that the Danish government is striving to bring consumption down further in homes and offices to 75 per cent of current levels of energy by next year; to 50 per cent in 2015; and to 25 per cent in 2020. Denmark also induces efficiency by taxing over-consumption by its citizens.

Arab countries have played a low-profile role at COP15. As a candidate last summer for Secretary-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency, Koch congratulated Masdar City for winning the rights to have the headquarters in Abu Dhabi and encourages the UAE to lead the Middle East further down the path of renewable sources of energy. Whether in the field of wind, solar, water energy, or via the current generation of young professionals, Koch concluded that the Middle East is a region with vast “untapped energy potential” that will play a pivotal role in the future.

The Denmark story

  • 50% of nation’s power is from renewable resources
  • 75% of current consumption is next year’s target
  • 25% consumption cuts in the last 10 years

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