Denmark: Lack of political support kills huge Straw to ethanol project

Plans to build Denmark’s first biorefinery in Maabjerg near Holstebro abandoned.

Maabjerg Energy center (MEC), an advanced straw to ethanol project in a commercial scale and with private as well as public financing is abandoned according to a statement from the project owners. The reson communicated is a general lack of political support and recently the judgement of the organization Danish Green investment fund who believes the project to be to risky and also not  possible to further develop into other markets. 

The parties behind the project have now decided not to go ahead with the biorefinery, which was intended to generate green power, heating, biogas and second-generation bioethanol based on by-products from local agriculture.

“It’s a great shame that we’re now forced to make the tough decision to drop the project. We have an extremely well-designed project, which has been scrutinised from all angles over five years. Now other countries will be driving the development and creating jobs, while Denmark might be importing bioethanol,” says Jørgen Udby, Chairman of the Board for Maabjerg Energy Center.

Goodbye to 1,000 jobs

In summer 2014, Maabjerg Energy Center was awarded DKK 293 million in EU funding, and in May, the Danish Government presented plans for a mixture requirement for second-generation bioethanol in petrol, and the MEC consortium recently decided to double its own contribution to the project to a total of DKK 460 million. But there has been a lack of political support to advance the project the final step.

“We needed a green light from politicians to get the final component of the financing in place, including loans with municipal guarantees. Without loan guarantees, the project is no longer financially viable. So Denmark has to wave goodbye to DKK 293 million from the EU, but worst of all, it means losing 1,000 permanent jobs and the possibility of Danish green technology exports,” says Jørgen Udby.

“In other countries, similar large-scale demonstration plants have received a helping hand in the form of cheap financing in order to be realised. It’s also the norm in Denmark for energy plants such as local CHP plants, biogas plants, district heating plants, waste plants and the like to be carried out with municipal loan guarantees,” says Jørgen Udby.

Maabjerg Energy Center (MEC)

Maabjerg Energy Center (MEC)