Foto: Lars Laursen/Ritzau Scanpix
Denmark’s electricity supply remains stable. However, the risk of power shortages is higher than usual, and Danes are urged to conserve energy so that there is also enough power for the winter.
The European electricity market is challenged by the war in Ukraine and the decommissioning of several European power plants. As a result, less energy is coming to Denmark, which has increased the risk of power shortages if we have a very cold, cloudy and windless period when a lot of power is used and less is produced via solar and wind.
The energy supply is currently stable, and the Danish Energy Agency continues to assess that consumers will not experience shortages of electricity or gas the first half of 2023. This is due, among other things, to the fact that Danes in general have become better at saving electricity.
However, we should keep up the good habits about saving on electricity and heating. Saving energy is not only good for your finances and the climate, it is also essential in order to ensure we have enough energy for the entire winter.
The energy systems are connected. Electricity is produced in many different ways. Around half of the electricity in the Danish sockets is produced by wind turbines, but in quiet periods there is a need to produce extra electricity using, among other things, natural gas. In the rest of Europe, with which we are connected, wind turbine power makes up a much smaller share. Saving on electricity now will mean saving on fuel for electricity production, which can then be used later in the season, should there be problems with, for example, the gas supply.
Due to the war in Ukraine, there is less natural gas available, therefore there may be problems with electricity during cold, windless periods this winter.
Good savings habits are important to maintain in order to save energy. Right now, the best thing you can do is:
Find good tips on how to best conserve energy at SparEnergi.dk (in Danish)
The total energy consumption has fallen, and it is important to maintain this moving forward. Below you can see how much Danes have saved on both gas and electricity.
On average, a person in Denmark will experience 20 minutes of power cuts each year. This could be, for example, because a power cable has been cut during a construction project.
As a last resort, if not enough power is produced to meet consumption, authorities can switch off power in limited areas to prevent blackouts. This is called a controlled outage. Such interruptions will last a maximum of two hours at a time for each consumer.
The risk is greatest during periods of very cold and windless weather and especially during the hours between 6 a.m. - 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. - 8 p.m. when consumption is highest.
In Denmark, we have not had a controlled power outage for many years. The authorities do not expect it to be necessary in the coming winter, if the Danes stick to their good savings habits.
A controlled power outage may be necessary when an imbalance occurs between the consumption and production of power. If more power is used than produced there is a risk of a blackout, and to prevent such blackouts, authorities may choose to turn off power in limited areas - for limited periods of time. Below you can get an overview of the most important steps that will precede a decision by the authorities to make use of a controlled power outage.
The Danish Energy Agency and the state-owned company Energinet will monitor the situation and continually ensure that there is a balance between the consumption and production of electricity.
The risk of ending up in a power shortage/controlled outage situation is greatest during the winter during cold and windless days.
Prior to a controlled blackout situation, electricity prices will rise sharply.
Every day at 2 p.m., Energinet will assess whether there will be enough power for the expected consumption the next 24 hours. If this is not the case, the authorities will warn the public that a controlled power outage may be necessary and that in order to prevent a power cut, there is a particular need to conserve power at certain periods within the next 24 hours.
Everyone can help to achieve the necessary balance by conserving as much power as possible so that consumption at the critical time is as low as it can be.
In the run-up to the critical hour when there is a risk of power shortages, companies in the market try to balance the situation, for example, by exploring the possibility of extra power generation from power plants.
If enough power can be found, for example because Danes have cut back on consumption, a controlled power outage will not be necessary.
If balance is not achieved at least 15 minutes before the hour of power shortage, Energinet will ask the local grid companies to disconnect the power as a last resort. Such interruptions will last a maximum of two hours at a time for each consumer. It will not be possible to say in advance where the power will be turned off.
If after a maximum of two hours balance has not been achieved, power will return to the disconnected customers while new areas will be disconnected. This will again be for a maximum of up to two hours. This continues until the balance is restored.
To avoid ending up in a situation of controlled power outages, everyone can help by saving power and spreading consumption out over a period of time.
The risk of controlled power outages is not very high. This is because Danes have generally become better at saving electricity, and that is why the best thing we can do is to keep saving electricity.
If the risk of a controlled power outage increases, it can be particularly helpful to avoid using dishwashers, games consoles, gaming computers, tumble dryers and large TVs. You can get an overview of the items that use the most power in your home here
Information in Danish: Your electricity consumption (sparenergi.dk)
Power consumption is usually highest between 6 a.m. - 10 a.m. and again from 4 p.m. - 8 p.m. There is the greatest risk of interruptions in these time frames. Therefore, we need to try to spread out our consumption across the day. Also in periods where there are no power shortages.
Just as with normal power outages, it is a good idea to have candles or a flash light with fresh batteries ready to use in your home.
The Danish Energy Agency encourages you to sign up for the information service that your local power company offers if possible. For example, a text message notification service.
You can get help to find your power company here - in Danish (greenpowerdenmark.dk)
The Danish authorities are constantly monitoring the situation closely and if the situation should change, they will notify the public via a number of channels such as news media or social media.
The Danish Energy Agency and Energinet are responsible for monitoring the electricity market and ensuring that there is enough power for the Danish market.
In addition, all Danish authorities, municipalities etc. are preparing action and contingency plans to ensure that they are well prepared in case of a power shortage/controlled power outage.
The authorities collect information for citizens here on kriseinformation.dk. The site will be continuously updated with relevant information.
You can find many more answers to the most relevant questions below:
Information in Danish: What is the current status of energy supply? (ens.dk)
Information in Danish: What is the best way to save energy? (sparenergi.dk)
Information in Danish: How to avoid a lack of power compromising food security? (foedevarestyrelsen.dk)
Information in Danish: Questions and answers about power cuts due to lack of power (energinet.dk)