Europe shows UK how it’s done when it comes to Carbon

The UK was shown a cleaner greener vision at the European Future Energy Forum. Ministers from across the continent recounted case studies and said stronger collaboration was needed. Lykke Friis, […]

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By Tom Gibson

The UK was shown a cleaner greener vision at the European Future Energy Forum. Ministers from across the continent recounted case studies and said stronger collaboration was needed.

Lykke Friis, the Danish Minister for Climate and Energy, told ELN her country was aiming to be fossil fuel free within a generation.

“A national commission said it is possible to be fossil free by 2050 and we won’t have an extra major price tag. We know that the price of fossil fuels will go up, if you do not set yourself that target then you can be dead sure you won’t be able to obtain the overall transformation.”

The transformation Ms Friis talks of is one that is taking a much more central role in policy making throughout Europe – the need for renewable frameworks. The successes of Denmark are down to such models being in place much longer than here in the UK.

Ms Friis added: “What makes Denmark special is that we conducted our first transformation in the seventies. When the first big oil crisis struck we changed our policy. We invested in wind.”

Similarly, Portugal have made the most of their renewable situation. Due to a severe lack of fossil fuels, the country has made a concerted effort to maximise its use of the sun and wind.

By 2020 it aims to have 60% of its electricity coming from low carbon sources, 1500MW from solar and 10% of their cars to be electric.

Carlos Zorrinho, the Vice Minister for Energy & Innovation, said: “Some days we have 100% energy from renewables, it’s extraordinary and possible.”

Both ministers talked of the need for a European Supergrid so countries can feed off each other’s energy sources. Mr Zorrinho called it “crucial” and Ms Friis said: “This will be the only way you can bring the prices of renewables down. This is a vitally important project and frankly, what other areas can you point to where we have such limited co-operation. The roads don’t stop at national borders.”