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DONG Energy to phase out coal by 2023

DONG Energy has announced that it has decided to entirely phase out the use of coal in its power stations by 2023. The coal will be replaced with sustainable biomass.

By 2023, the use of coal as fuel at DONG Energy's power stations will have stopped completely. The power stations will be replacing coal with sustainable biomass (illustration courtesy DONG Energy).

By 2023, the use of coal as fuel at DONG Energy’s power stations will have stopped completely. The power stations will be replacing coal with sustainable biomass (illustration courtesy DONG Energy).

Danish energy utility major DONG Energy has announced that it has decided to entirely phase out the use of coal in its power stations by 2023.

– We’ve decided to take the final step and phase out the use of coal at all our power stations. The future belongs to renewable energy sources, and therefore we’re now converting the last of our coal-fired power stations to sustainable biomass. The decision is in line with our vision to lead the way in the transformation to a sustainable energy system and create a leading green energy company, said Henrik Poulsen, CEO of DONG Energy in a statement.

With the decision to stop all use of coal by 2023, a future solution must now be prepared for the company’s remaining two coal-fired power stations: Asnæs Power Station and Esbjerg Power Station. The company is in dialogue with the heating customers in Kalundborg and Esbjerg regarding the possibilities of converting the two power stations to use woodchip as fuel instead of coal when the existing heating agreements expire at the end of 2017 and 2019, respectively.

Since 2002, DONG Energy has used wood pellets and wood chips as fuel at both Herning Power Station and Avedøre Power Station. In 2016, both Studstrup Power Station near Aarhus and Avedøre Power Station near Copenhagen were converted to run 100 percent on wood pellets and straw, and during the spring of 2017, Skærbæk Power Station near Fredericia will be able to run 100 percent on woodchip.

Avedøre Power Plant outside Copenhagen, Denmark (photo courtesy DONG Energy).

Avedøre Power Plant outside Copenhagen, Denmark (photo courtesy DONG Energy).

The company is the first among the large European energy companies to decide to phase out coal for the production of electricity and heating completely. Since 2006, it has  DONG Energy has reduced its coal consumption by 73 percent through a reduction in the number of power stations as well as conversions to sustainable biomass instead of coal.

At the same time, the company has constructed more production capacity based on offshore wind than any other company in the world. This means that in just one decade, DONG Energy will have gone from being one of the most coal-intensive utilities in Europe to being among the greenest energy companies in Europe.

– When we use sustainable biomass, we achieve significant CO2 reductions in comparison to when we use coal and gas. Our wood pellets and woodchips originate from forest areas with continuous reforestation, meaning that new trees grow up to absorb the CO2 emissions created during the combustion of the biomass, said Henrik Poulsen.

The decision means that DONG Energy is now initiating the final stage of the conversion, so that by 1 January 2023, the company will no longer generate electricity and heating based on coal.

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