Copenhagen Bids to Be 100 Percent Carbon Neutral Capital
Renewable Energy – Wind and Solar
Copenhagen, Denmark is trying to be the first city in the world to be 100 percent carbon neutral (their goal is 2025). Denmark is one of the first countries in the world that implemented an environmental law, and since then, the environment has become one of the priorities of city planning. At present, Copenhagen is powered by renewable energy, mainly solar and wind energy (and offshore wind farms), along with coal plants. The city plans to replace its coal plants with biomass, as well as add to the existing sustainable energy resources.
Already, at least 30% of Danish electricity is supplied by wind (and offshore wind farms). Copenhagen also has the largest heating network in the world where waste heat from power plants is utilized to keep buildings warm with district heating. Water from the city harbor is utilized to cool various buildings in the city, such as office buildings, data centers, hotels, and department stores.
City officials also plan to improve public and mass transport systems, and at the same time, promote the use of bicycles as a means of traveling from one place to another. Cycling is already as popular as car use, but the city sees cycling as becoming the dominant form of transit. They also want to reduce the use of private cars.
In general, Denmark already has substantial renewable energy and green transport infrastructure in place. The city’s rail, airport, and suburbs are connected to the center via the metro system. The bus fleet in Copenhagen is being converted to run using biofuel, and the city hopes that by 2025, most of the vehicles used in the city run on hydrogen, electricity, bioethanol, and biogas.
Copenhagen is a good model with regards to urban design and planning, but there is still lots of room for improvement. The city council of Copenhagen hopes that majority of travels will be done by foot, public transit or bicycles by 2025. The city is relatively small, and that’s why it is easy to use a bike to get around. Plus, the city provides safe bike lanes that are separated from road traffic. Copenhagen has installed green wave traffic lights and constructed new bike lanes as well as improved current ones. At present, 35 percent of people use their bikes to go to work or school. They also use their bikes to visit friend or go to shopping. Visitors can use one of the free city bikes that have been offered all across Copenhagen since 1995.
Copenhagen Public-Private Green Initiatives
Copenhagen has several public-private partnerships that have helped with its sustainable employment and eco-innovation. The city works with universities, organizations, and companies to develop and improve green growth. During the past decade, the city invested in making the harbor area as clean as possible. Cleaning the harbor has allowed Copenhagen to create jobs, generate revenue, and improve local business life. These are just some of the benefits that the city got through its sustainable initiatives. Today, people can swim in the harbor, which has crystal clear water.
Aside from the swimming spots in the harbor area, Copenhagen has various beaches that include the long white sands of Amager Beach. North of the center are the popular beaches of Hellerup Strand and Bellevue Strand. Part of the success that Copenhagen is experiencing in terms of its green campaigns is due to the fact that city officials engage their constituents. This makes people feel that they are part of the solution. Urban green solutions have been implemented on a large scale and utilized by everyday people. The city pioneered green programs such as tax and rebates and reductions when switching to hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, and financial incentives to recycle plastic bottles. There’s always an eco-friendly alternative for anything in the city.
In 2014, Copenhagen has been voted as Europe’s Green Capital by the European Environment Commission. The city is known as a world leader when it comes to clean technology, sustainable buildings, and clean businesses. Copenhagen is dominated by green spaces, open spaces and parks, such as the Tivoli Gardens. The city practices what it preaches and its citizens truly live in a green paradise.