Happy New Year from the future

Where better to celebrate the arrival of the new year then where the energy transition future is already happening?

City of Sønderborg in the southern Denmark has started its journey in December 2018, when the Council approved plan for reducing emissions by 75 per cent by 2025, and kickstart of the  ProjectZero  developing a CO2-netural Sønderborg area by 2029.

With combination of extension of disctict heating network, installing more PVs, windmills and heat pumps to opening new biogas plant, and scrapping of heating with oil furnaces this work is well under way.

Furthermore, Sønderborg ProjectZero is a great practical example of sector integration. Many of the initiatives stars as a dialogue between of wide range of businesses from manufacturing and transport, to tourism and building developers. In addition, this actively involves local government and the community. What we often jaw-jaw in Brussels about energy transition, is live and kicking here in Sønderborg.

For my stay in Sønderborg I choose Alsik hotel that seems the best showcase of the ProjectZero. Combining smart building technologies, energy efficiency and application of range of renewable energy sources, the hotel and spa complex is already 76% CO2 neutral. 

For example, the facade is made out of recycled metal, the concrete used of natural materials, inside of the building equipped with smart energy systems anticipating user behaviour, hot water preprocessing with electro light, and surplus heat storage system for efficient recycling of the energy. With further integration of renewable electricity, such as wind energy from the windmill park Lillebaelt, Alsik aims to become 100% CO2-neutral.

Many of these high ambitions in Sønderborg – to achieve sustainable, efficient and technologies integrated energy future – originate from Danfoss and Mads Clausen Foundation. This is unsurprising, as in my decades of work in sustainable energy advocacy (from district heating at Euroheat & Power, to industrial energy efficiency at EEIP) Danfoss remains one of the leading European companies both in implementing of wide-range of energy technologies, and in supporting sustainable energy advocacy across Europe.

So Happy New Year and well done Sønderborg! I am happy that I can start 2020 – this mythical year for EU energy policy – already from the future.