Challenges of the green transition in Denmark


In Denmark, as in Europe in general, the energy transition presents new and challenging tasks for the players in the energy sector. To improve the information basis and to prepare adequately for these challenges, TSCNET customer Energinet, the Danish transmission system operator (TSO), has created two reports on long-term development needs in the Danish energy system. There are two reports, as Energinet is not only the national TSO for electricity, but also for gas.

The forecasts in “Long-term Development Needs in the Power Grid” are similar to those of other European TSOs and allow similar conclusions. Not surprisingly, Denmark, as a world leader in renewable energy, needs to make even greater efforts to integrate these amounts of energy from renewable sources. In concrete terms, the TSO expects that by 2040 the maximum generation of wind turbines and solar cells could increase from 7.4GW today to perhaps 26GW. Such a tripling or quadrupling will cause problems for the current high-voltage grid, which is not designed to transmit such large amounts of energy.

Some challenges may not be due for 10-20 years, but others are already on the doorstep. In some places in Denmark, large-scale local production from wind and solar energy is already putting a considerable strain on the power grid. Hanne Storm Edlefsen, Head of the Strategic Planning division in Energinet Elsystemansvar, the TSO’s electricity system operator branch, emphasises the need for cooperation at all economic, political, and social levels to make the green transition a success and, for example, to ensure that “a doubling of electricity demand does not mean twice as many power pylons and overhead lines”.

The analyses show, among other things, the locations in Denmark where high-voltage grid extensions are required, either as underground cables or overhead lines. However, Edlefsen also points to other solution approaches beyond mere expansion: The proper placement of wind farms or large photovoltaic systems can reduce the need for grid reinforcement. And electrolysis plants of the future, which convert green electricity into hydrogen and other green fuels, could be located close to major green generation units so that electricity need not be transported across the country.

Energinet has presented two reports on the Danish long-term development needs in the power grid and in the gas system (picture: Energinet)

> See Energinet press release (html)
>Open report on needs in the power grid (pdf, 7.42MB)

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High supply security and high share of renewables in Denmark


Denmark is a world leader in the supply of electricity from renewable sources. 2019 is yet another record year in this respect, according to the annual statement on the security of electricity supply presented by TSCNET customer Energinet, the Danish transmission system operator (TSO). The availability rate of electricity of 99.996% of the time, which the report reveals, is already impressive, but so is the share of renewables in the Danish electricity grid, which reached 50% last year.

The integration of such extensive and increasing wind and solar energy capacities, more electricity interconnectors, or the harmonisation of markets and grid operation through EC regulations – all these have an impact on the Danish security of supply. Therefore, the high level is not a sure-fire success and, according to Energinet’s CEO Søren Dupont Kristensen, is due to the TSO’s immense efforts: “In the last decade, we have taken enormous steps in the energy transition. For example, wind and sun accounted for less than 20% of electricity in Denmark in those days, whereas today it accounts for over 50%. At the same time, we still have a remarkably high level of supply security. However, this continued high level of supply security does not come by itself, which is why we are paying close attention to the challenges that an ageing electricity grid poses, including an increasing risk of power shortage.”

For 2030, Denmark has set a target of 100% electricity from renewables with a 70% reduction in CO2 emissions. This can only be achieved with a comprehensive sector coupling, as Energinet declares – and, because of the increasingly decentralised electricity generation, through consistent and adequate expansion of the electricity grids. Søren Dupont Kristensen assures that Energinet will take all measures to maintain Danish security of supply at a comparable high level over the next ten years.

Energinet has presented its statement on the Danish security of electricity supply in 2019 (picture: Pixabay)

> See Energinet press release, in Danish (html)

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ENTSO-E study calls for greater cross-border capacity


93GW by 2040 – that is the need for additional cross-border transmission capacity in Europe identified by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) in the recently presented study “Completing the map. Power system needs in 2030 and 2040”. Just like the “Roadmap for a multi-sectorial Planning Support” published in July, the system needs study is related to ENTSO-E’s Ten-Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP). Capacity demand has been determined all across Europe, with a total need of 50GW at almost 40 borders by 2030 and 43 additional GW at more than 55 borders by 2040.

ENTSO-E considers this capacity expansion to be essential for implementing the EU Green Deal – i.e. achieving climate neutrality while controlling security and costs. To reduce energy consumption by 110TWh per year by 2040, avoid 53m tonnes of CO2 emissions, and promote market integration and price convergence between bidding zones, substantial investments are needed for additional cross-border exchanges. According to ENTSO-E, €1.3bn per year between 2025 and 2030 will reduce generation costs by €4bn per year, while investments of €3.4bn per year between 2025 and 2040 will reduce generation costs by as much as €10bn per year.

Power transmission projects currently in the design or development stage cover only about 43GW of the 93GW. The results of the ENTSO-E system needs study should lead to the design of new projects to meet newly identified demand. Project promoters may submit projects covering these needs for the TYNDP 2020 by the end of September. ENTSO-E emphasises that, in addition to increased transmission capacity, all other solutions should be considered to meet the identified needs, such as storage, hybrid offshore infrastructure, smart grids, and Power-to-X conversion technologies. The importance of coordinated cross-sectoral planning – including electricity and gas, but also transport and heat – has already been highlighted by ENTSO-E in the roadmap for multi-sectorial planning.

ENTSO-E has published a system needs study which identifies an additional demand for cross-border transmission capacity (illustration based on graphics by ENTSO-E)

> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Open System Needs Study (pdf, 6.21MB)
> Open study summary (pdf, 3.02MB)

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ENTSO-E roadmap for coordinated multi-sectorial planning


Smart Sector Integration is an important topic on the European energy policy agenda and is recognised as a key factor for a climate-neutral energy system. Smart Sector Integration contributes to cost-effective solutions for system needs, supports system security and resilience, and facilitates the decarbonisation of other sectors through innovative, cross-sector solutions and synergies. For this reason, infrastructure planning for the future power system requires a multi-sectoral approach that includes facilities for electricity and gas transmission as well as for transport and heat. In recognition of and to promote the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) has published a roadmap for the development of multi-sectoral planning support up to 2030.

Multi-Sectorial Planning Support (MSPS) constitutes a long-term, holistic view of system planning. It facilitates coordination and consistency between the different sectors in infrastructure planning. As basis for system and sector development plans, it allows for even more comprehensive and consolidated scenarios compared to the current joint scenarios of ENTSO-E and the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG). In a screening process, projects which have relevant interactions with other sectors, or which compete with projects in other sectors are compared through a transparent cost-benefit analysis, taking the ENTSOs’ Ten-Year Network Development Plan (TYNDP) to a new level.

ENTSO-E has published the “Roadmap for a multi-sectorial Planning Support” (picture: ENTSO-E)

> See ENTSO-E press release (html)
> Open Roadmap (pdf, 2.07MB)
> Open Executive summary (pdf, 362.4kB)

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