RoundBaltic boosting the energy transition in the region of Southern Denmark
Against a backdrop of accelerating climate change, geopolitical tensions and rising energy prices, new sustainable projects have emerged in Danish municipalities. However, generally Danish municipalities need more support and capacity to implement larger changes
The climate crisis has for decades demanded action and energy transition, yet the energy crisis became a new powerful shove in the back that revealed our continued dependence on Russian gas and other fossil energy supplies. This is partly due to a lack of funding for energy renovation, which has slowed down the pace of the transition we so desperately need.
RoundBaltic, which was initiated in 2020, has the main purpose of bridging the gap between the energy and finance sectors to create the financial foundation that is essential to realize the energy transition. However, the energy crisis’ images of skyrocketing energy bills and economic inequality also reminded us that the transition to a sustainable energy system must be socially just; and therefore, it must not only be initiated in big cities, but also in rural areas. This requires local climate plans and concrete targets.
In this context, the Danish regions are showing an interesting example. This year, Denmark’s five regions entered a climate alliance with the goal of living up to the Paris Agreement and the national climate target of 70% reduction by 2030. One of these is the Region of Southern Denmark, which with its 22 municipalities is on a journey towards a far-reaching sustainable transition. Strengthened by RoundBaltic, the region has found new ways to become independent of fossil energy. Among other initiatives, the region is part of the COHEAT project, which is an EU project that through massive investments will convert the heat supply to 100% renewable energy. The project has a special focus on the living areas that are not connected to the district heating network and areas where a sustainable solution other than district heating must be found.
One of the driving forces behind the COHEAT project is Anders Bræstrup, who enthusiastically talks about their climate ambitions. Through the project, the region will introduce new system solutions based on renewable technologies, community-engaged cooperatives, and consumer-friendly support schemes. This requires accelerated and targeted climate plans, which are in full swing. But the big task also has its national obstacles, as Anders explains in an interview with RoundBaltic.
He further says that municipalities have a strong interest in engaging citizens in the energy transition, but that they lack nationally established instruments to do so fully. But despite the lack of national legislation, the region is pursuing its roadmap towards climate-neutral heat supply. The question is no longer which plans to make, but how to realize them as rapidly as possible.
The overall objective of COHEAT2 is to demonstrate, in the Region of Southern Denmark and its 22 municipalities, how concrete investments in energy renovations of residential buildings, the transition to a 100% green heating supply and CO2 reductions of 70% by 2030 can be accelerated and implemented through novel business, technology and replication models organized in sub-regional project development units (PDU).