Denmark's pragmatic shades of green (photos)

CNET contributor Candace Lombardi visits the country and finds examples big and small of its implementation of green energy policy.

Candace Lombardi
In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.
Candace Lombardi
1 of 10 Candace Lombardi/CNET


Denmark's implementation of green energy policy shows up in incremental changes big and small that have been made over decades.

Requiring a room key be put in a special outlet slot for a hotel room's electricity to work is typical of many European hotels. It prevent guests from leaving on lights and wasting energy. But one Denmark hotel took things a step further. In addition to the key card requirement, the room thermostat was set at 21 degrees Celsius (69.8 degrees Farenheit) and only offered a temperature change of plus or minus 5 degrees Celsius.

2 of 10 Candace Lombardi/CNET


Denmark's Storebæltbroen (the Great Belt Bridge), the world's second-longest suspension bridge, connects Copenhagen with mainland Europe for both cars and trains. The bridge, which opened to cars and trucks in 1998, has reduced travel times between regions by one hour, saving Danish travelers both time and fuel.
3 of 10 Candace Lombardi/CNET

Wind turbines

Here we see off-shore wind turbines to the north of Denmark's Storebæltbroen connection. One of the biggest changes to Denmark in the last two decades has been the proliferation of off-shore wind turbines dotting its waters. In 2009, 18.3 percent of Denmark's electricity was generated by wind energy.
4 of 10 Candace Lombardi/CNET

City of cyclists

Copenhagen calls itself the "City of Cyclists" and with good reason. The city has more than 350 kilometers (217 miles) of bike lanes, many of them cycle tracks that give cyclists a hard barrier between them, the pedestrian sidewalk, and the general road for cars. Some bike intersections, like this one, even have their own miniature traffic light.
5 of 10 Candace Lombardi/CNET

Cargo trikes

In addition to its infrastructure, Denmark has also been developing an industry of cargo trikes, which are basically tricycles for adults with cargo storage for children and packages.
6 of 10 Candace Lombardi/CNET

Electric boat

In 2009, DFDS Canal Tours began offering electric boat tours of Copenhagen's canals as an alternative to its diesel boats. The first electric boat in its fleet was named the Den Grimme Ælling (The Ugly Duckling), a nod to the famous Danish poet and fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen.

The boat holds 170 passengers and has four large lithium ion batteries with enough power to operate all day. It recharges at night when not in service. In addition to reducing the cost and pollution of diesel fuel, the electric boats also provide a nice quiet ride.

7 of 10 Candace Lombardi/CNET


Here's Tesla's Copenhagen showroom at Bredgade 35, which opened in June 2010. Of course, most Copenhageners don't own an all-electric sports car, or any electric car. A poll conducted by the government found that only 22 percent of 551 Copenhagen residents polled supported the promotion of electric cars in the city as a way to become carbon neutral by 2025. Most instead preferred continued improvement toward public transportation and cycling infrastructure.
8 of 10 Candace Lombardi/CNET

Hotel room trash

Danish commitment to the environment is made clear to tourists in even the smallest ways. A hotel room trash can is divided into paper for recycling, organic matter for composting, and "other."
9 of 10 Candace Lombardi/CNET

Electric plant

Here's a gas-fired electricity plant on the outskirts of Copenhagen owned by Danish energy giant Dong Energy. Denmark's "Energy Strategy 2050" plan seeks to reduce fossil fuel use of coal, oil, and gas to 33 percent by 2020, and be completely free of it by 2050. The plan would replace gas with biogas.
10 of 10 Candace Lombardi/CNET


Daka Biodiesel in Jutland, Denmark, manufacturers biodiesel from animal fat and used cooking oil. Its owner, Daka, is a cooperative that collects animal byproducts made by farms in Denmark and Sweden.

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