Beyond 2025, Copenhagen’s road to 100% Renewable Energy Supply

Copenhagen is world renowned for its green and liveable characteristics. In recent years the city has become a leader in climate adaptation and mitigation.


More of these, Photo: Flickr, Peter Hellmann

Copenhagen is world renowned for its green and liveable characteristics. In recent years the city has become a leader in climate adaptation and mitigation, receiving the European Green Capital award in 2014, the Climate Leadership Prize in 2013 and toping the Global Green Economy Index the previous two years. Such accolades have spurned primarily from Copenhagen's target to become the world's first carbon neutral city by 2025, set out in the  CPH Climate Plan 2025.

The city is, for many around the world, a leading light in its approach, methods and solutions to combat climate change whilst ensuring economic growth and a good quality of life for its citizens. This can be emphasized in the run up to COP21 in Paris when global leaders will be looking for inspiration as they (hopefully) set bold national carbon reduction targets.

Beyond Copenhagen, the Danish nation has set itself the long term goal of 100% renewable energy supply by 2050. Copenhagen, as the nation's capital and most populous area will no doubt play a central role in achieving this goal, but how exactly to go about it is an open question? Luckily for Copenhagen and Denmark, Brian Vad Mathiesen and a research team from the Department of Development and Planning at Aalborg University have taken on the challenge to assess how Copenhagen can move from carbon neutrality to 100% renewable energy supply.

"The vision we created for Copenhagen as a city based on 100% renewable energy in 2050 can be seen as a paradigm that many other ambitious cities can copy around the world," Brian Vad Mathesien, quote for the Guardian, from Kansas to Copenhagen: clean energy beacons around the world 20 May 2015


Copenhagen's waste to energy plant opening 2017, Photo:


The study, released in March, uses the Smart Energy System concept to identify, analyse and recommend a number of changes in the energy system to help Copenhagen lead the Danish nation in the transition towards a non-fossil fuel, 100% renewable energy supply. Based on previous Coherent Energy and Environmental System Analysis (CEESA) studies the report first points to the adoptance of strategic energy planning in Copenhagen, equipping the city to plan in the short, medium and long term as energy, population and infrastructural circumstances develop.

In addition the report recommends a roadmap of interventions that includes:

  • Investments in heat savings - helping lower heat demand of the city and therefore the total fuel demand.
  • The continued connection of new housing units to the district heating network - increasing system efficiency.
  • Reduce district heating temperatures - to again reduce fuel demand and increase efficiency
  • Reduce industry and household use of electricity - to reduce overall fuel demand
  • Test and demonstrate large scale heat pumps - to foster wind energy more efficiently
  • Increase the use of industrial waste heat, waste incineration, geothermal energy supply and solar thermal energy - diversifying the energy mix
  • Create a long term plan for photovoltaic, onshore and offshore wind power - to enable  a clear planning and implementation strategy
  • Invest in public transport and supporting infrastructure - to avoid unnecessary transport demand
  • Invest less in roads - to discourage lock in of road based transport and encourage investment in light rail, metro, bus and bike infrastructure.

To read more about these steps and find out how the research team came to their conclusions visit Aalborg University Research Portal to download the report.

Last updated Tuesday, June 16, 2015