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Dong Energy to Cut Coal Use, CO2 Emissions 50% in Biomass Switch

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Oct. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Dong Energy A/S, Denmark’s biggest utility, is set to cut coal use and carbon emissions as it switches to biomass at three of its biggest plants with a combined output of as much as 1,968 megawatts, the company said.

The utility plans to convert to biomass at three co-generation stations, including the coal-fired 790-megawatt Avedoere plant in Copenhagen and the 760-megawatt Studstrup unit in Aarhus, as well as the 418-megawatt gas-fired Skaerbaek station in Kolding, Thomas Dalsgaard, executive vice president of Dong Energy, said today by e-mail from Fredericia, Denmark.

The move was prompted by a renewable-energy policy agreement signed by the country’s main political parties on March 22, with a final investment decision pending the outcome of the talks, he said. A firm decision and timeframe will be given depending on the outcome of negotiations with heat customers, he said.

“The conversion to biomass enables 100 percent use of biomass, but the power plants will maintain fuel flexibility and be able to use coal or gas,” Dalsgaard said.

Once the fuel switch is complete, Dong expects to use about 2 million metric tons of coal each year, down from 4 million tons last year and 6 million tons in 2006, Dalsgaard said.

The company has its eyes set on increasing “green production of heat and power from 15 percent in 2006 to 85 percent in 2040,” he said. “CO2 emissions per energy unit should be halved by 2020 and reduced to only 15 percent by 2040.”

Scrapped Divestment

The government policy of promoting renewable energy at the expense of fossil fuels will limit Denmark’s coal use by 50 percent over the next eight years, according to a website report issued by the country’s Energy Agency on Sept. 27.

Following a scrapped divestment plan, Vattenfall AB, the Nordic region’s biggest utility, decided to keep operating three combined heat and power plants in Denmark, while speeding up studies into co-firing biomass at the stations in a bid to scale back the use of fossil fuels and cut carbon emissions, the company said on Feb. 27.

To contact the reporter on this story: Torsten Fagerholm in Helsinki at tfagerholm@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lars Paulsson at lpaulsson@bloomberg.net

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