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Denmark unveils plan to reduce fossil fuels, double use of renewable energy

Jan 19, 2007 The Associated Press

The government on Friday unveiled plans to cut the use of fossil fuels by up to 15 percent and double renewable energy sources within 18 years - in a drive for cleaner fuel and greater self-sufficiency.

"We must reduce Denmark's dependency on fossil fuels like oil, natural gas and coal, in the long term," Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said. "One day, stocks will run out, and we must be ready to supply ourselves."

Fogh Rasmussen said the "ambitious plan" sees renewable energy, including wind power, hydrogen and biofuels, as providing up to 30 percent of the country's total consumption by 2025 _ up from the current 15 percent. It also pledges to double annual energy research funds to 1 billion kroner (euro134 million; US$173 million) starting in 2010.

Later this year, lawmakers were expected to vote on the plan, which requires the approval of the 179-seat Parliament. Fogh Rasmussen said his center-right Cabinet was seeking broad majority support for the plan, but the Social Democratic-led opposition criticized it for being too modest.

Currently, Denmark's main energy source is oil, representing 42 percent, followed by natural gas at 23 percent, and coal at 19 percent.

But the small Scandinavian country, which leads Europe in the use of wind power with rows of massive windmill turbines cutting through the country and along the coast lines, wants to further promote the use of friendlier fuels.

Most of the energy funds would be used for research on renewable energy sources, the government said.