Telenor purchases green energy from a brand-new solar park in Denmark
Jun 2, 2023
In Kolding and Vejle Municipality, near the villages of Viuf and Håstrup, Better Energy's brand-new solar park is on the way as the two city councils approved the local plan. Telenor and Telia will purchase about half of the power from the solar park, which is expected to be completed and operational by the end of 2024.
The solar park is unique in its ambitions and scale for local value creation, as 129 of the total 347 hectares will be used for nature restoration, trail systems, and restoration of watercourses and recreational areas. The solar park thus both increases biodiversity and opens the landscape to the local area, giving neighbours access to new natural areas and recreational opportunities.
In 2022, Telenor and Telia signed a significant power purchase agreement with Better Energy. This agreement will ensure the supply of new green power production to the Danish electricity grid when completed by the end of 2024. Over a ten-year period, the companies will then purchase 125 GWh per year – or about half of the wind farm's expected production – which covers approximately 75% of the power consumption of the companies' mobile networks in Denmark and otherwise corresponds to the annual power consumption of approximately 78,000 Danes.
"As part of Telenor's commitment to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and meet our science-based targets, we prioritise signing Power Purchase Agreements that support renewable electricity generation in the Nordics. We are pleased to have entered into this agreement with Telia and Better Energy to provide renewable energy to our operations in Denmark," says Tone Hegland Bachke, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Telenor Group.
Improvement through close local involvement
The local area around Viuf and Håstrup was involved very early in the development process, both in the form of general public meetings and in the form of individual meetings with neighbours and local council representatives. The objective has been to respond to concerns, and finding local solutions that could gain broad support.
This led early on to the involvement of community associations from Viuf and Håstrup. Chairman of Viuf Medborgerforening, Nicolai Asmussen explains:
"It's a significant change in the area, so it's important that we get value out of it locally. Therefore, we in both Viuf and Håstrup Citizens' Associations decided early on that we would enter a constructive dialogue instead of going to the barricades. Some will never back up, but the general atmosphere is positive because we get to put our local imprint on so many things.
Specifically, this has resulted in local forces helping to take part in many of the initiatives that have ended up being central to the project, including the pedestrian tunnel under the main road.
Kolding and Vejle Municipality on their way to the green jersey
Kolding and Vejle Municipality are part of the collaboration in the Triangle Energy Alliance, where the ambition is to connect players across sectors and create large amounts of green fuels through Power-to-X. This requires even greater amounts of new, green and subsidy-free electricity.
"The climate crisis means we need to move on sustainable electricity produced from wind and solar. In Kolding City Council, we are committed to implementing the green transition in dialogue with our local areas, so the projects also give something back locally. I am pleased that the process in Viuf demonstrates how the local dialogue can not only contribute to preventing the worst knots in the development but also with concrete input on how the projects can ensure improvements in recreational opportunities, groundwater protection, biodiversity, road safety, etc.," says Knud Erik Langhoff (K), Mayor of Kolding Municipality.
The key to success, emphasises Development Director at Better Energy, Esben Billeskov, is local anchorage:
"The prerequisite for the development of initiatives and initiatives in solar parks where the area is used for several purposes is that they have arisen and create value locally. And we will only achieve a green transition at scale if we can secure local support."
About the solar park's local green initiatives
Keeping approximately 129 out of 347 hectares available for local initiatives
Release of approx. 3 km of watercourses from piping systems
Establishment of approx. 10 km of the trail system and running routes
Construction of a pedestrian tunnel under the main road to provide a safe access road
Establishment of a charging station at Viuf town
Establishment of shelters and tables-benches areas
Retention of more than 30,000 m2 for wetlands – including new habitats for the tree frog
Retention of more than 641,000 m2 for two green corridors through the area