Sunday, September 9, 2012


For those who aren't familiar with Danish geography, let me clarify one key thing. Copenhagen is technically on an island in the eastern-most part of the country. As far as many Copenhageners are concerned, there are two parts of Denmark: Copenhagen and everything else that isn't. This other part, which is actually the majority of the country, is typically referred to as Jutland. As part of my sustainability core program, my class spent the past three days traveling through the region.

Our trip was focused on energy production and transmission in Denmark. Our first stop on Thursday morning was the Energinet offices, a private company that controls the supply of wind energy to the (soon to be smart) grid. Denmark has set a goal of 50% renewable energy by 2020 and 100% by 2050; wind power is currently supplying 15-20% of the total energy used for district heating and electricity. Two of the employees gave a presentation and was I floored by one of the most simple things said: electricity is perishable. Because we haven't found an efficient way to store it, it has be transmitted and used as soon as it's produced. Maybe it's obvious, but this simple realization completely shifted how I view energy production and made for a much more interesting trip.

After leaving the Energinet offices, we drove on to Thisted and went on a guided hike of the bird cliffs and WWII bunkers along the Western coast.

The next morning we drove a few minutes from our cozy inn to the Nordic Folkecenter where they test new energy technologies and educate people about the potential of renewable solutions.

Friday evening we arrived in Ã…rhus and checked in to our hostel. We spent Saturday morning at ARoS, an internationally renowned art museum that was easily my favorite stop on the trip (I am an Art History major after all). After a tour of the Tony Matelli exhibition and ample time spent walking the Rainbow Panorama, we headed to a nearby ecovillage to see sustainable living in practice before the long bus ride back to Copenhagen.

As excited as I am to explore the rest of Europe in the coming months, I had a fantastic time getting to know the country I've been calling my home for the past three weeks. It's easy to forget that there's a whole other side to Denmark besides Copenhagen. Because I'll be without my passport for two weeks in order to get my Russian visa, I'm declaring September the month of Danish exploration. So far, so good!

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