In 1970, Denmark imported oil for 98% of its energy needs. In reaction to the oil crisis, the country committed itself to achieving energy independence. New technologies were implemented, such as super efficient combined heat and power plants, advanced wind turbines, and non-polluting plants to extract energy from municipal waste, while high standards for energy efficiency in buildings led to innovative designs and conservation. Today, Denmark is a net exporter of energy, and renewable technology is its leading export.
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Denmark has instituted very aggressive measures to increase building efficiencies, and reduce heating and cooling loads. Current national Danish energy codes mandate an energy intensity of 70 kwh/m2 (22,190 BTU/sf) for commercial buildings, with plans to reduce this limit to 45 kwh/m2 (14,265 BTU/sf) by 2005. For comparison, in 1999 the U.S. average was 85,000 BTU per sf (http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/consumptionbriefs/cbecs/cbecs_trends/siteintdetail.html).
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Both Denmark and Sweden have adopted district energy systems as one of their primary means of reducing their energy consumption. The heat generated from electrical power stations or industrial processes, which otherwise would be exhausted as waste heat, is instead captured and piped through extensive hot water systems, providing hot water and space heating for thousands of homes and offices.
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Although it is located at 55 degrees north latitude, a level not ususally considered to have an adequate solar resource, Malmö, Sweden is exploring the viability of using both thermal and PV solar systems.
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Sweden considers the issues of municipal waste management and energy management to be inextricably connected. It is illegal to landfill anu combustible municipal waste, which has led to the construction of very clean and efficient waste to energy conversion plants, that produce both heat and electricty from this "free" fuel source.
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The Danish government has the ambitious goal of reducing CO2 emissions 50% by 2030, at which time half of Denmark's electricity consumption is to be supplied by renewable energy sources. In 2002 wind energy provided 13.9% of Denmark's electricity.