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24 August 2020

Northern Europe’s largest solar plant is being built without subsidies

The new solar plant has a capacity of over 200 MW with a total electricity production corresponding to the energy consumption of approximately 127,000 Danes. The solar plant is in Holstebro Municipality, where there are about 59,000 residents.

The Danish energy company Better Energy develops, builds and operates the solar plant, while Heartland becomes the owner of the plant.

Approximately half of the new green energy that the solar plant will produce has already been sold to Heartland subsidiary BESTSELLER. This energy corresponds to 100% of BESTSELLER's global electricity consumption for owned and operated buildings. In the future, the CO2 footprint of well-known clothing brands such as JACK & JONES, ONLY, VERO MODA, VILA and NAME IT will be significantly reduced. In addition to BESTSELLER, NORMAL and nemlig.com will also purchase the new green power.

"It is not only the size of the new solar plant that is groundbreaking, but it is also the fact that the solar plant will supply BESTSELLER, NORMAL and nemlig.com with new subsidy-free green electricity. This is the next phase in the green transition, when companies' choice of new green electricity is the direct reason for the deployment of new renewable energy," says Better Energy CEO Rasmus Lildholdt Kjær.

In 2018, the BESTSELLER Group announced its Fashion FWD strategy in which sustainability has been made a core focus of their business. One of the major initiatives of the strategy is to power their operations with 100% renewable energy.

"It is crucial for us that our energy is not only green but also new and subsidy-free. We want to be the direct reason for the deployment of new green energy that corresponds to the consumption of our own companies BESTSELLER, NORMAL and nemlig.com. At the same time, we want to do it sustainably," says Lise Kaae from Heartland.

The solar plant will be built on conventionally cultivated agricultural land that will be converted into organic farming. Nature has not had optimal conditions here for many years, but a solar plant can help make a change for the better:

"During construction, permanent grass and herb vegetation cover in the form of organic clover grass will be established, sections of the undeveloped areas will be sown with flower seeds and pesticides will no longer be used on the land area. Thus, in the future, pesticides and herbicides will no longer be washed into the area’s vulnerable streams and groundwater during periods of heavy rain, and better living conditions for bees and other pollinating insects will be created. This is a good example of how renewable energy development, nature and biodiversity can go hand in hand," says Rasmus Lildholdt Kjær and continues:

"Part of the designated area is one of only two possible habitats in Denmark for the northern birch mouse, an endangered species. The birch mouse and other animal species will be protected during the construction phase. After the solar plant has been established, the area will serve as a long-term haven, providing wildlife with an expansive habitat with minimal human disturbance.”

The synergies between CO2 reduction and biodiversity have also been a focus area for Holstebro Municipality. In February 2020, the municipality approved the addendum to the urban area development plan, district plan and associated environmental assessments for the project.

Construction of the solar plant will commence in August 2020. The solar project will be completed and produce new green power for the electricity grid in summer of 2021. Due to the size of the system, the solar plant will be the first in Denmark directly connected to the electricity transmission network that transports electricity production to consumer areas in Denmark. The connection will be made at the Danish public utility (Energinet) transformer station at Idomlund in spring 2021.

"This is the first time that a solar PV system has been connected directly to the Danish electricity transmission line and directly to electricity highways. A new, major step is being taken in Denmark's green transition. On a basic level, it is a power plant that runs on solar. Technically and electrically, a solar PV plant performs much differently than a traditional power plant. At Energinet, we need to be at the forefront of connecting this new type of production plant so that we can continue to maintain Denmark's high security of supply and support the green transition," says Poul Oslo Rasmussen, operations engineer in Energinet's department for Electrical System Operations.

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