In Denmark there is a long history of community owned energy supply. The electrical power production was owned by consumer cooperatives and municipalities; power production was generally based on the non- profit principle.
This was changed when Denmark implemented the European Internal Energy Market policy liberalizing the energy supply and allowing companies to take over the power plants.
Today the district heating, which is widely spread in almost all Danish towns being by far the largest source in terms of heat supply, is still organised in a form of non-profit companies owned by consumer cooperatives and municipalities.
In the 1980´s and 1990´s the major part of windmills raised in Denmark were owned by local citizens organized in cooperatives. Today only 20% of the local windmill projects are reserved for local citizens’ ownership. This has been an important factor in the rising number of local protests.
Solar cells for electricity production were very limited in Denmark until the recent 2-3 years. Until the end of 2012 Denmark had net-metering (NEM) for households installing up to 6 kW PV cells. It was working during the whole year, therefore households could produce solar electricity mostly in summer and ‘get it back’ from the grid in winter and during the night. This system in combination with declining prices of solar panels and with information campaigns by a few utilities, NGO groups and small local firms resulted in a big rise in the numbers of small photovoltaic (PV) plants. The number of PV cells rose from 4,100 in January 2012 to 89,500 in 2013.
This positive development made the electricity producing companies and the majority in the Danish Parliament to react. The system was too attractive for consumers, therefore the rules were changed.
From 2013 one hour net-metering combined with a feed in tariff was introduced. The feed in tariff is also available to cooperative PV plants. A maximum installed PV capacity per year was set to 20 MW within the feed in tariff. The feed in tariff declines every year.
The introduction of the feed in tariff system opened up for PV plants owned by cooperatives, but there is still a number of legal barriers blocking the establishment of new plants.
Friends of the Earth Denmark
Henning Bo Madsen
Phone: +45 5126 0368