chapter  5
19 Pages

Energy policy at a crossroad

WithFinn Arler

The entrance to the 1980s marked the beginning of a period, where old habits were broken and a variety of new options appeared in the horizon. The starting signal was the second oil crisis in March 1979, where the oil price tripled for a second time after political upheavals in Iran and the Danish economy was left in ruins. This made stable energy supply and economic considerations first priorities in Danish energy policy. This led to two of the largest public investments in Danish history. Firstly, the development of a natural gas network transporting gas from the North Sea to private heat consumers, and secondly, a change from oil to coal in centralized cogeneration plants, with major investments in district heating in the largest cities. The use of coal led to growing problems with acidification, a new international concern, which was considered the major environmental problem during most of the 1980s. The Danish economy recovered as oil prices declined and North Sea oil and gas extraction led to a growing self-sufficiency.