The green transition can - and should - move faster

September 29, 2022

This article was featured in Jyllands-Posten's Fremtidens Energi special publication on 30 September 2022.

By Simon Kudal, Jyllands-Posten (English version below)

If Denmark is to remain at the forefront of the green transition, we need to get rid of some of the bureaucracy and create better administrative conditions for the transition to green technologies. This is the message from Energy Machines, which delivers integrated energy solutions with the latest green technologies.

There is no doubt that there are great advantages to taking the lead in the green transition. Energy Machines is one of the companies that is currently electrifying energy solutions in large Danish buildings with combinations of green technologies – including geothermal solutions that can retrieve both heat and cold from under the ground.

Niels Sørensen is the Chief Revenue Officer at Energy Machines, and he finds that although many decision makers talk about green transition and would like to be part of it, there are administrative barriers that must be worked through before we really get the speed of the transition up to gear.

"We think it's a kind of ketchup effect, where the ketchup is currently stuck in the bottle. It is difficult to quickly get permits to build green energy solutions [away from district heating]. It should be made easier to get green energy projects approved, and we believe that if the public decides that now something must be done in this area, then it will spill out with ketchup to the delight of the green transition and all of us," he says.

Shake the ketchup bottle

Lasse Thomsen, Director of R&D at Energy Machines, finds that today it is a huge task to get the project descriptions drawn up that must be approved in order to get the necessary permits - even for standard projects.

"Energy Machines has gradually obtained a series of permits in Denmark, so we now have a handle on the circumstantial requirements. Without the accumulated experience and strong cooperation with various consulting engineers, however, even we as experts would have difficulty keeping faith in a fast green transition,” he says.

In the Netherlands, large-scale geothermal heating has been implemented for many years, and has a far greater number of geothermal plants than Denmark. Here, the rules work such that green energy projects are automatically approved if there are no conditions that require special treatment. Niels Sørensen believes that there is a need for a similar approach in Denmark, where only necessary exceptions are dealt with at the bottom, so that it becomes less complicated to get approval for ordinary sustainability projects for the benefit of society.

"It should be made easier and faster to get permits for, for example, making test boreholes in the ground. Even where the subsoil is suitable and without pollution, it can take a long time right now. Denmark will probably have to catch up at some point, because we usually succeed with sustainable measures in the end, but right now the ketchup is pretty stuck,” he says.