Denmark's Distribured Natural Grid Policy and Infrastructure

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Chris Cook:

"In 1973 the 400% oil price increase from $3 to $12 per barrel – the Oil Shock – exposed Denmark’s 90% reliance on fossil fuels. The pragmatic reaction of the Danes was to apply the organising principle of resource resilience – or least resource cost – to fossil fuels. In other words, the Danes mandated that for any given use of heat, transport, power, light and other energy services the purchase of oil & gas as a commodity would be minimised.

This principle was applied across all possible energy services. It led to renewable energy, where the Danes acquired Scottish wind turbine technology and through building out turbines across Denmark created the biggest global wind turbine manufacturer (Vestas) in a country with a similar population to Scotland. It also led to heat infrastructure throughout Denmark, notably combined heat and power; district heating and heat storage (infinitely cheaper than electricity storage); also to fiscal policies discouraging car use and enabling a switch to public transport and bicycles; and finally to massive investment in energy efficiency in buildings, and in zero waste generally.

The outcome has been that since 1973 while Denmark’s GDP has doubled, their use of energy has declined and their use of carbon fuels (and CO2 production!) has declined significantly. This image strikingly illustrates how Denmark’s fairly centralised National Grid evolved in the direction of what I term a distributed Natural Grid." (