Research

AAU students map the municipalities transitioning to 100% renewable energy

Municipalities for the climate: AAU students map the municipalities transitioning to 100% renewable energy

Municipalities for the climate: AAU students map the municipalities transitioning to 100% renewable energy

For their semester project, Camilla Jensen and Luna Maria Jensen of Aalborg University (AAU) analysed three Danish municipalities in their transition to 100% renewable energy. Among these is Energy City in Frederikshavn Municipality, which gets great professional inspiration from the cooperation. The experience will help other municipalities in their transition, so that Denmark can make it across the line with the UN Global Goal on sustainable energy.

By Thomas Møller Christensen

When talking about Denmark’s green success on the international stage, it is often businesses and national achievements and plans that are celebrated. Yet many of the nationwide solutions have been tested and matured on a smaller scale locally. For example, municipalities will play an important role in Denmark achieving the UN Global Goal on sustainable energy.

- “Much of the work on the Global Goals is not necessarily done at the national level, but very much in the regions, municipalities, and cities. So achieving the objectives in Denmark requires us to act on them locally. Therefore, it is important to understand and illustrate the challenges currently facing municipalities”, explains Camilla Jensen, a student of Politics and Administration at AAU.

EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS ARE KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION

Camilla Jensen is currently writing a semester project with Luna Maria Jensen. They are analysing how three municipalities go about realising their vision of achieving 100% renewable energy. By starting with three municipalities that have already started the transition, they hope to inspire other municipalities.

- “We have selected three municipalities for our project in order to get a general overview of what they do during the transitional process. What are their challenges, and what does it take to succeed? Based on that, we can generalise about the transition process, and other municipalities can use this as inspiration. This ensures that municipalities don’t have to take turns reinventing the wheel”, says Camilla Jensen.

Through interviews with front-line staff in local authorities, the two students have identified a number of essential criteria for a successful transition to renewable energy. Financial and political support, as well as cooperation with local educational institutions are some of the parameters that the municipalities identified as the most important.

COOPERATION WITH AAU GIVES PROFESSIONAL INSPIRATION

This cooperation with educational institutions is something they have particularly good experience with in Energy City in Frederikshavn Municipality, one of the municipalities that Camilla Jensen and Luna Maria Jensen are assessing.

- “We have a good history of working closely with Aalborg University. This provides professional inspiration for our daily lives, which we cannot underestimate. They reflect on what we do from a completely different perspective, and it is often eye-opening”, says Poul Nielsen Rask, the project manager of Energy City.

- “In addition to Camilla and Luna, we also cooperate with other students and researchers. For example, we frequently have interns, project collaborations and student assistants. They have their finger on the pulse and give us a new knowledge and insight, which helps shed light on specific issues from new angles.

At the same time, there are other aspects to the cooperation with AAU”, Poul Nielsen Rask explains. Of course it is an opportunity for Energy City to take responsibility, but it is also a potential recruitment channel.

- “We believe we have a moral obligation to help students learn to use their vast knowledge and body of theory "in the real world." And of course, it is also a way for us to recruit when they finish their studies. It’s a great way to reach out to students and show that we have plenty of exciting, professional challenges for them when they complete their programmes.”

FACTS: THE MAIN CRITERIA FOR TRANSITIONING TO 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY

Camilla Jensen and Luna Maria Jensen have interviewed frontline employees from the Ringkøbing-Skjern, Skive and Frederikshavn municipalities. According to the municipalities, the main criteria for the transition have been:

  • Financial support
  • Political support and security
  • Projects of varying duration and with visible results
  • Expertise in technological development
  • Cooperation with local educational institutions
  • A community of citizens and businesses

GLOBAL GOALS

  • No. 7: Affordable and clean energy