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Copenhagen aims to be carbon neutral with windmills and perhaps a giant duck

Little Mermaid statue by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen
Little Mermaid statue by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen
Photo by Ragnar Singsaas/Getty Images

Newsweek noted on Sunday that Copenhagen, the charming capital city of Denmark, aims to become the first carbon neutral city of its type in the world. Toward that end it is investing heavily in windmills, taking advantage of the windy conditions in and around the city, and other alternate energy sources like solar power. Then there is the giant green duck which could show up in Copenhagen Harbor if some British designers have their way.

According to Time Magazine, the floating duck would be a 12 story high structure made of light weight steel and covered with photo voltaic panels that would collect sunlight to be converted into electricity. Hydro turbines in the duck’s base would provide more power as water is let in and then pumped out.

The floating duck would serve as a tourist attraction as well. At night, LED lights would flicker on the duck’s body in rhythm with the hydro turbines. Tourists will be invited to go on board the duck to look upon its inner workings.

The energy duck would certainly be more picturesque than the wind farms that Copenhagen is building to provide the city with neutral power. While many have been built offshore already, more are due to be constructed on land. As with other communities there has been some resistance as the utilitarian wind mills clash with the charming, medieval architecture of Denmark’s capital. Danes approve of the windmills, but having them too close by has caused a NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) problem.

Copenhagen has arrived at a solution to break down that resistance by selling shares in the wind turbines to the locals. Each share would represent 1,000 kW hours per year. A typical Danish family, which consumes 3,500 kW hours per year, would only have to own four shares to effectively own their own renewable power source. People are therefore able to put up with living next to wind turbines if they feel they own them.