Riding the train to the COP each morning in Denmark, I pass within spitting distance of not 1 but 2 major coal fired power stations operated by DONG, the local utility. Every morning, the generating units and their pollution make clear just how the lights stay on here in Denmark. I generally find that when I ask my friends, colleagues, and students at Stanford where the power stations are that provide their electricity, they haven’t the foggiest idea. Quite a contrast.
At the same time, Denmark leads the world in both renewables and innovation in the use of coal-fired generation. Denmark has somewhere north of 20% installed wind capacity; DONG co-fires biomass in all of its fossil generating units and operates some of the most efficient and up to date power stations anywhere.
Does having one’s dirty fossil generation in plain site of the citizenry motivate change and a willingness to see the real tradeoffs between, for example, siting of new wind and new coal capacity. Does keeping the power stations out of site (or in California’s case, out of state) lead to resistance to environmentally superior but more visible alternatives?