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Climate Politics and Renewable Energy in Denmark 1975‒2020

Karsten Bruun Hansen (Roskilde University, Denmark)
Peter Enevoldsen (Aarhus University, Denmark)

Public Governance in Denmark

ISBN: 978-1-80043-713-5, eISBN: 978-1-80043-712-8

Publication date: 23 February 2022


Sustainable energy has been on the political agenda in Denmark for decades. This chapter will highlight how wind turbine production quite unforeseen became a great success in Denmark before the turn of the Millennium. An integrative public leadership approach using a mix of supportive institutional designs and instruments, combined with an unexpected bottom-up pressure for alternatives to nuclear power, promoted ways for wind turbine innovation and production in the 1970s. After the turn of the Millennium, being a huge financial success creating many new jobs and export has it developed into a cluster based on huge investments and professionalised developers. The comprehensive transition of wind turbine production in Denmark, from small scale to large scale, has however provided a counterproductive decrease in community commitment for local renewable energy production.

Denmark is known internationally as a climate frontrunner and not only due to wind turbine production and planning. The status is obtained by polycentric governance applied in cooperative-owned energy systems. The Danish response to climate change is a concerted effort of a plethora of public and private actors, providing a crucial momentum and robustness in climate politics not at least generated from a genuine civic society involvement. ‘The Danish Energy Model’; a withhold strategic effort to combine ambitious renewable energy goals, energy efficiency targets and political support of technical and industrial development has for four decades, succeeded in providing high levels of cheap energy supply, while partly reducing fossil fuel dependency at the same time.



Hansen, K.B. and Enevoldsen, P. (2022), "Climate Politics and Renewable Energy in Denmark 1975‒2020", Krogh, A.H., Agger, A. and Triantafillou, P. (Ed.) Public Governance in Denmark, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 149-167.



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