Future can be fossil fuel free

Lykke Friis the Danish Energy Secretary, has said Europe has to move away from oil to secure its energy future and that being fossil fuel free is not a pipe […]

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By Sumit Bose

Lykke Friis the Danish Energy Secretary, has said Europe has to move away from oil to secure its energy future and that being fossil fuel free is not a pipe dream. Speaking last night at the London School of Economics she explained how her country had proved moving away from oil and coal isn’t impossible, infact it benefits economies.

“Since 1980 the Danish economy has grown by 80 per cent while our energy consumption has remained more or less constant and CO2 emissions have been reduced. The share of oil in the total Danish energy consumption has fallen dramatically over the years at the same time renewable energy is now covering almost one fifth of our total energy consumption. Today almost 12 per cent of exports come from clean tech and its now part of the Danish brand on the global scene,” she said.

After the oil crisis of the 1970s Denmark embarked on a transition to renewable power and invested heavily in wind and other green sources. It’s now seen as a leading example of how clean tech, as its called, can improve economies.

“In 2008 we set up a national commission to help us to become completely independent of fossil fuels. It presented its report just last month and its core conclusion is that independence is not a pipe dream, it can be done and because the price of fossil fuels is about to go up, it can be done at limited extra cost. Indeed you can say that the higher bill for green energy is an insurance premium that we pay for not having to participate in the global energy race”

She said her nation was now setting out to be fossil fuel free within 40 years. “Our official goal is to become independent by 2050 but we are not an energy island. We are part of the EU and so we will pursue our energy transformation with the rest of Europe.”

Ms Friis also said the policy of competing for more and more highly priced oil was a folly for nation states and unless renewables were made a priority much of Europe would continue to be held hostage at the whims of oil and gas producing countries.