Copenhagen Aims to Become the First Carbon-Neutral Capital City by 2025

Alt Dot Energy
April 1, 2009

Copenhagen wants to bring carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions down to zero and become
the first carbon-neutral capital city by 2025. The target was announced by the
seven mayors of the city while launching Copenhagenís new climate plan. As a
city that has so many green habits already this seems very achievable.

The plan involves the initial reduction of CO2 emissions by 20% by 2015, and 50
clear initiatives have been outlined to achieve that target. The business
community and the local inhabitants have been invited to work closely with the
cityís administration towards achieving these ambitious goals.

The development of a new geothermal power station is one of the initiatives to
achieve a CO2-neutral Copenhagen by 2025 and it would increase the production of
geothermal heat by 600%. Such a project would cost the city about $183.33 million.

Professor Hendrik Lund of the Department of Development and Planning at Aalborg
University (Aalborg, Denmark), said that a new power station could be set up
within six to seven years. Lundís paper observes that Copenhagen could utilize
geothermal energy to generate up to 50% of the district heating requirements.
Klaus Bondam, Mayor of Technical and Environmental Administration, said that
instead of choosing the easiest solutions to reduce greenhouse gases, Copenhagen
would implement the green solution to create a healthy city.

The other initiatives of the cityís climate plan include the use of
hydrogen-powered and electric cars that could be parked for free in parking
areas and recharged at street corners. The plan also includes the refurbishment
of educational institutions, increased use of wind turbines, development of a
wind power project, and the use of biomass in power stations to ensure that the
energy produced is carbon-neutral.

According to results of a recent survey, the ground a few kilometers beneath
Copenhagen has enough hot water to fulfill all the heating requirements of the
eastern Zealand district for thousands of years. The survey reports that the
geothermal reserves under the city contain about 70 times more energy than
required by Denmark to fulfill its heating, electricity and transportation needs.

Jesper Magtengaard, an engineer of DONG Energy (Copenhagen), has said that new
calculations show that it is economically feasible to allow building heating
systems to absorb heat from the water, send the used water back underground,
allowing it to be reheated, and then reuse it for district heating. Although
using geothermal energy is not comparable with the existing power and heat
plants in the short-term, it is a plan that could be developed for the long-term.

Denmark currently has two operating geothermal plants. The plant in the town of
Thisted in Jutland was set up in 1984, while the second plant is located on the
island of Amager, which is a part of Copenhagen. Copenhagen already has three
large-scale waste-combustion plants that produce surplus heat during summer.

According to the project manager for the heating plan for the capital, Thomas
Hartmann, setting up a geothermal plant now would be less economical than
continuing with the existing biomass- and waste-fueled heat and power plants.
Copenhagen will host three climate conferences in December 2009. The United
Nationsí Framework Convention on Climate Change summit will outline the new
paths to be followed to fight climate change after 2012, when the first stage of
the Kyoto Protocol concludes. The two other summits are the Childrenís Climate
Change Forum and a mayorsí summit, which is expected to generate practical
methods that can be followed by municipal bodies to fight climate change.


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