Select Committee on Environmental Audit Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum submitted by WWF-UK


  Denmark has been at the forefront of implementing new approaches to energy efficiency, through both technological approaches (such as decentralisation of power with community heating and CHP) and fiscal measures. For example, in the 1990s Denmark introduced a variety of "green taxes", including an energy tax, the revenues from which were recycled into subsidies for energy saving projects.

Figure 1: shows changes in gross energy consumption and energy intensity from 1975 to 2003[30]:

  Denmark's gross energy consumption figures are derived by adjusting observed energy consumption by the fuel consumed to produce electricity for net exports, plus adjustments for climate variations.

  Energy intensity (ie energy consumption in relation to the size of the gross national product) has fallen dramatically over the past three decades. From its peak at the end of the 1970s, Figure 1 shows that gross energy consumption in Denmark has fallen by an average of 0.2% per annum over the 24 years to 2003.

  The Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) gives an alternative comparison, which includes the consumption shifts induced by the oil price shocks and economic changes of the 1970s. Between 1973 and 2002, Denmark's total primary energy supply (TPES) decreased from 19.8 Mtoe (megatonnes of oil equivalent) to 19.7 Mtoe. In this period, the Danish GDP increased from $128.44 billion to $213.14 billion, representing an average growth rate of 1.76% per annum[31].

  For a more recent and detailed comparison, Table 1 shows a breakdown of energy consumption in Denmark since 1995. Gross energy consumption decreased from 839 Petajoules (PJs) in 1995 to 829 PJs in 2003, a 1.2% fall over eight years[32]. During this period, Denmark's GDP grew by an average of 2% per year[33].

Table 1


1995 199920002001 20022003

839 842837 834827829

373382 375375360 343
Natural Gas134193 193194197 191
Coal265181 176167162 176
Renewables and wastes68 869498108 118

  These examples of energy savings over different periods of economic growth have led to CO2 emissions reductions over and above those achieved by Denmark's highly successful application of renewable energy technologies.

31 October 2005

30   Danish Energy Authority, Back

31   Association for the Conservation of Energy. Back

32   Danish Energy Authority, 2003.pdf Back

33   OCED source, Back

34   Danish Energy Authority, 2003.pdf Back

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