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Energy Efficiency

Danish-Californian Cooperation on Energy Efficiency: Denmark inspires the Golden State

Denmark has decades of experience and knowledge within energy efficiency in industry and now brings this expertise to California’s food industry to support the Golden State’s ambitious goals of decarbonizing its industry and double energy efficiency by 2030. This creates a high demand for Danish expertise and know-how.


When you look at a map, Denmark and California may seem very far from each other with 5.343 miles between them. The two are, however, very close when it comes to climate goals and actions. The Golden State has ambitious targets, which include economy-wide carbon-neutrality by 2045 as well as a doubling of the state’s energy efficiency by 2030 compared to 2015.

California has a wide range of programmes, support schemes, and regulation to achieve their energy and climate goals and regularly do rounds of solicitations for project funding. The focus on actively pursuing energy efficiency targets through supporting initiatives are some of the reasons why California is a particularly interesting market for Danish energy efficiency solutions.

“We experience an increase in the number of companies in California that are becoming interested in monitoring their energy consumption as well as their emissions. In addition to having some of the highest energy prices in the U.S., several of these facilities are part of the California Cap-and-Trade program requiring them to lower their greenhouse gas emissions,” explains Niels Utoft Andersen, Commercial Advisor at The Trade Council of Denmark in Silicon Valley about the development in the Californian market, and continues: “this creates opportunities for Danish companies to share their expertise and know-how.”

Harnessing the potential for cooperation between Denmark and California in the energy efficiency sector is a growing focus area at the Consulate General in Silicon Valley. These efforts are complementary to the Government-to-Government cooperation where the Danish Energy Agency and the California Energy Commission partners share regulatory expertise and experiences. The purpose is to advance energy efficiency and low-carbon development, achieving long-term carbon neutrality.

The Danish Approach in California

Denmark has more than 40 years of experience in transforming its energy system from conventional to sustainable, and continues to focus on the green transition. Last year, the Danish Government passed a legally binding climate act with the ambitious goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 70 percent in 2030 compared to the 1990 level. Energy efficiency has been a cornerstone in the Danish green transition and has spawned world-leading competencies and technologies in energy efficient manufacturing and equipment. The Danish approaches, experiences and solutions are highly relevant in other nations and states, such as California, which are pursuing climate action.

Last year, to gauge the potential for Danish know-how in the Californian industry, the California Energy Commission and the Danish Energy Agency brought in Danish expertise to review dairy processing facilities in California. The Danish consultants were able to identify areas in the production line where the facilities could save between 23 and 30 percent of their natural gas consumption by implementing projects focusing on thermal energy savings and re-use of heat. The expected pay-back for the projects is approximately two years with an estimated CO2 reduction of 4000-5000 tons per year.

"Facilities often have significant potentials for energy improvements inside the production processes, for example by introducing heat recovery systems. Such improvements are important to carry out as baseline before optimizing the utility systems delivering energy to the production processes," says Peter Maagoe Petersen, CEO & Partner at the Danish Energy Consulting firm Viegand & Maagoe.

Using Data to optimize the use of Energy

The audits confirmed that the Danish approach is relevant also in Californian industries to identify such heat-recovery options. In Denmark, the industry has been catching and “re-using” heat for years, reducing the demand for steam and consequently also the natural gas consumption. This requires monitoring of energy consumption and temperature levels at many different points throughout the process. Such energy mapping practices are more common in Denmark than in California, and are crucial to establishing a more detailed overview of the combined energy consumption.

The Danish energy audit approach is a more holistic method that uses energy data to analyze the production processes and asks questions such as whether we need all the heat we generate and how we best utilize that energy. These are some of the best practices we are sharing with California as a part of our Government-to-Government cooperation,” says Bo Riisgaard Pedersen, sector expert at the Consulate General in Silicon Valley.

Engaging with California’s milk, cheese and ice cream producers one facility at a time, experts and advisors at the Consulate General of Denmark in Silicon Valley are actively sharing Danish expertise and solutions. The purpose is to use the Danish best practices and existing solutions to help create more climate action in California and globally, while paving the way for Danish green businesses.


contact us

If you want to know more about the Californian market for industrial energy efficiency and process optimization, please feel free to reach out to our advisors Niels Utoft Andersen or Lasse Thomassen. If you are interested in the government-to-government cooperation on energy between California and Denmark, then please contact Bo Riisgaard Pedersen.