Plugging into Denmark’s energy potential

Denmark’s electricity grids should be further connected to neighbouring countries, says European Commission.
Published: Fri 02 Jun 2017

This is according to European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič, who says that the country has a ‘world class’ renewables industry and that it is important that Denmark uses its role as a front-runner in energy technology to ensure that its citizens and businesses can fully benefit from affordable and clean energy.

Šefčovič highlighted this point at the second Energy Union Tour in Denmark, where he met with Danish Energy and Climate Minister Lars Christian Lilleholt to discuss the Energy Union’s governance and national energy and climate plans.

Šefčovič said in a statement that the framework put forward in the EU’s Clean Energy for All Europeans package will support Denmark in reaching its very ambitious renewable energy target: at least 50% renewables by 2030. He also recognises the country as being ‘very strong in other key areas of the low carbon economy, ranging from biotechnology to engineering services.’

Grid interconnection-key for the EU energy transition

The whole of Europe is currently engaged in the ‘green transition’ and renewable energy is becoming increasingly important in the power system, says Anders Pallesen Jensen, Head of System Optimisation at Energinet.dk.

“Because renewable energy, specifically wind and solar, is reliant on weather conditions and time of day, the grid connection between countries (and cross-border electricity) will play an even larger role when we are to ensure power to the electrical contacts in the future,” he said in a statement. 

Paving the way for an integrated energy system

The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) is currently leading a new project that will develop methods to optimise the management of electrical connections and pave the way for an integrated energy system across the Nordic countries.

The project, Multi-DC – Innovative Methods for Optimal Operation of Multiple HVDC Connections and Grids, is supported by Grand Solutions Innovation Fund Denmark. Its findings will be of great value for the Energy Island in the North Sea (Dogger Bank), as an optimised management of the electric connections will enhance the efficiency and reduce the cost further, according to DTU.

“We will take advantage of Denmark’s many DC connections where we will test and demonstrate new innovative methods for coordinated control. This will not only strengthen the current system, but also support a future power system based on more renewable energy,” said Professor Jacob Østergaard, Head of the Centre of Electric Power and Energy at DTU Electrical Engineering.

A more coordinated management will utilise the power more efficiently; it will reduce losses on longer distances and optimise those AC systems that the DC connections links together, which increases the reliability and efficiency of the overall system. Furthermore, the DC connections are more flexible, which means a better handling of renewable energy, which currently is a challenge for the traditional connections. Optimised management of these connections is therefore an attractive solution – not only for the current power grid, but also in relation to the Danish Government’s Energy Strategy to become independent of fossil fuels in 2050, DTU explained.

The project addresses the optimal distribution of electricity between neighbouring countries and findings are expected to reduce the current challenges around energy output fluctuations between countries.  

DTU expects that customers in both Denmark and the neighbouring countries will gain from a more coordinated management of the DC connections, with neighbouring countries having access to cheaper wind energy and Danish customers enjoying a lower cost connected to the transmission network.

The project will take place over the following 4 years and is worth €3.6m (DKK26.7m).