Copenhagen goes electric

That day, the Mayor of Copenhagen, Ritt Bjerregaard, got the attention of the international media. It was 2009 and she was about to present the vision of making the Danish capital the first climate neutral city in the world by 2025.

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Making a capital city climate neutral in 15 years time is a monumental task. Electrification is at the heart of the transition. The city is working hard to erect wind farms, install more than 30,000 square metres of solar power and set up charging stations. This year Eltel, was given the task of electrifying the city’s buses.

It should be possible for the buses to charge while in normal service. However, it takes a lot of energy to charge a bus so that it can run for 170 kilometres – and charge it in only six minutes.

Eltel installed four 450-kilowatt charging stations along route 2A. The 9-tonne charging stations were supported by concrete foundations and if two charging stations are placed together, a substation has to be built to handle the massive power output.

After a test period on route 2A, everyone was pleased, and the customer was happy with the smooth, quiet ride. To complete the electrification of the city’s buses, 80 additional charging stations will need to be installed.

Next up is the Port of Copenhagen where ships must be able to use electricity instead of running their engines. The huge demand for charging buses and ships will require an upgrade of the grids. There is much to be done before Copenhagen reaches its 2025 target, but it is on schedule.

The goal of being the first climate neutral city in the world still remains unchallenged and today, cities all over the world are looking to Copenhagen for inspiration in the transition to a climate neutral future.