Denmark champions wind power, sets record

wind turbine
A Vestas wind turbine. Image credit: Vestas

Denmark has had a record year for wind power production. Denmark got 39.1 percent of its overall electricity from wind in 2014. That figure is according to the country's Climate and Energy Ministry.

In fact, said EurActiv.com, that figure "makes the country the world's leading nation in -based power usage." In January 2014 alone, power from wind made up 61.4 percent of electricity consumption. By contrast, wind contributed to just 18.8 percent of the overall electricity production in Denmark in 2004. Denmark also has become a leading wind power manufacturer. Companies such as Vestas and Siemens Wind Power are based there, said ThinkProgress. Around nine out of every 10 offshore turbines installed globally are made in Denmark.

Denmark's goal for 2020 is getting 50 percent of its power from renewables. What is more, Denmark has a long-term goal of being fossil fuel-free by 2050, said ThinkProgress. Denmark's Climate and Energy Minister Rasmus Helveg Petersen said, "We still plan to put up more wind turbines," according to EurActiv.com, a site for EU news. Considering how countries such as Scotland, England, and Denmark are building out their , this record year for Denmark strengthens Europe as a whole as a leader in the wind power industry.

The Local, nonetheless, put the record year in wider perspective. While wind power accounted for nearly 40 percent of Denmark's electricity in 2014, wind only covers about five percent of the nation's total energy use. They noted that, according to the Danish Energy Association, electricity only makes up one-tenth of Denmark's total energy usage; fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas still account for about three-fourths of Denmark's total energy use.

Denmark has long been a pioneer in . Reflecting on its earlier days, Vestas recalled a time when "Keen to avoid ridicule from customers and suppliers," Vestas carried out initial wind turbine experiments in secret. The first prototype looked like a giant egg whisk, before Vestas developed its three-blade turbine introduced in 1979. Now, Vestas is reported to have installed wind turbines in 73 countries around the world.

Petersen, meanwhile, said that the government has set aside 60 million kroner toward a heat pump trial program meant to encourage Danish power plants to embrace the more climate-friendly, but currently more costly, solution, according to The Local.

To date, said the official website of Denmark, also called Denmark, "Danish companies have installed more than 90 per cent of the world's offshore ." With a constant aim of bringing down the cost of energy, Denmark expects to remain a dominant player in the offshore wind turbine market.


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Jan 10, 2015
Denmark is in an unique position where it straddles the border between the nordic grid, with huge hydropower resources, and the German grid with 80 million consumers for any excess power.

That's why it's more applicable to say that the wind power generation in denmark corresponds to 39.1% of its electricity demand, rather than claiming that it meets said demand.

Because much of the wind energy is simply exported. For example:
http://www.claver...p?386918

While wind power accounted for nearly 40 percent of Denmark's electricity in 2014, wind only covers about five percent of the nation's total energy use.


As I keep saying. It's easy to boast renewable electricity percentages when people are cooking and heating with gas burners for a want of cheap energy.

Jan 10, 2015
The thing with the exports is, that most electricity generation is arranged 24 hours in advance by consumption forecasts which are fairly reliable. The gap between forecast and reality is then met with spot market power from the more expensive sources like diesel generators, or by import and export.

Wind is also predictable, but how much power you get is less so. The output scales in the third power of wind speed, so a 10% error in prediction gives you a 33% error in output. A small error in prediction can easily leave you 1/3 short of the promised, but it's more likely to give you much more than you wanted.

So, the utilities play it safe and don't leave much margin for wind power in their power plan, so they don't have to buy expensive power to make up the difference, and they end up with loads too much, which they sell off to a larger grid that can absorb it.

A "virtual battery" as they call it. Obviously, it works as long as the other guy isn't doing the same back to you.

Jan 10, 2015
I was wondering how Eikka would see how one can get almost 40% of the total power from a system which only produces 20% of the time. Maybe Eikka can tell us.

And with the new storage, his arguments are gone. Maybe he can but a coal-burner-generator unit for his own home. The rest of us will use PV, wind, hydro, geothermal, and storage.

Jan 10, 2015
Denmark's GDP has been flat since 2007 while both Norway and Sweden have climbed 30 percent. Not a problem when you're starting with an already developed economy; but a disaster if you're a poverty stricken one.

Jan 10, 2015
The statement above makes no sense to me. Why would a new technology which frees them from the costs of fuel and waste and the long-term liabilities of combustion be bad for a nation?

Jan 10, 2015
I was wondering how Eikka would see how one can get almost 40% of the total power from a system which only produces 20% of the time. Maybe Eikka can tell us.


Easily. You fudge the numbers.

The math is very simple. Let's say we have 1 unit of power demand for 1 unit of time, which means 1 unit of energy is consumed.

The wind power is on 20% of the time during that period, and while it is on it produces 0.4 units of energy which corresponds to 40% of the total energy used.

The wind power output must therefore be 0.4 / 0.2 = 2 units of power. 2 is greater than 1 by half, so the output from the wind power exceeds the demand and must be exported to other grids. That leaves 0.2 units of energy in the first grid, which is 20% and another 0.2 units is dumped elsewhere.

But we skip that last part and treat the exported power as if it was consumed locally, which gives 40% instead of 20%. That's how the renewables industry comes up with their figures.


Jan 10, 2015
Meanwhile, there is an expanding list of closing nuclear powerplants, unable to compete with gas and wind and PV.

Perhaps many of our Alternative Energy resisters think they are much smarter than all the economists and accountants in utilities?

Jan 10, 2015
Why would a new technology which frees them from the costs of fuel and waste and the long-term liabilities of combustion be bad for a nation?


Because it costs more than it saves as much of the benefit is exported out of the country for very little money.


Jan 10, 2015
Meanwhile, there is an expanding list of closing nuclear powerplants, unable to compete with gas and wind and PV.


Tu-quoque fallacy. Part of the reason why is because the excess wind power is dumped so cheaply onto the market, having already been paid for with feed-in tariff subsidies.

Perhaps many of our Alternative Energy resisters think they are much smarter than all the economists and accountants in utilities?


Perhaps doing the smart thing doesn't matter when the real aim of the industry and the utilities is to make money by collecting government subsidies. As long as it's profitable, it doesn't matter whether it actually works.

Drop the subsidies and very few windmills remain.

Jan 10, 2015
Windmills grind grain. Wind turbine-generators produce electricity. Perhaps some education is in order.

If you want to see subsidized power, look into nukes.

Jan 11, 2015
Eikka: If 10% in gives 33% error out, then it scales with a factor of 3, not "in the third power"

Wind is also predictable, but how much power you get is less so. The output scales in the third power of wind speed, so a 10% error in prediction gives you a 33% error in output.

Jan 11, 2015
The benefits of living in a nation-state where the external security needs are taken care of, and paid for, by someone else.


Jan 11, 2015
The benefits of living in a nation-state where the external security needs are taken care of, and paid for, by someone else.

Hold on a minute. First, Denmark's military expenditure is 1.3% of GDP which is quite reasonable for such a small country. They have just completed a significant modernisation effort, starting in 2005, and moved from partial conscription to fully professional forces.

Second, their single largest threat is Russia, an enemy they could not defeat even if they quadrupled their budget. They've had tough choices to make, even deprioritising Navy and Air Force assets (which would get wiped out in the blink of an eye) and strengthening land forces (basically to bog down a putative Russian invasion guerrilla style).

Third, moving away from oil and gas dependency is the cornerstone of their defense strategy. In case you haven't noticed, that's how Russia threatens its neighbours these days.

Jan 12, 2015
The benefits of living in a nation-state where the external security needs are taken care of, and paid for, by someone else.


It's a small countries and in the vision of EU military defense, some states should focus only on some small parts of the military arsenal needed, depending on their industries, know how, geographical position etc. Better to be specialized and effective in one field than being below mediocre in all.

Jan 12, 2015
What people like Eikka do not understand - is that we are in very early days in terms of our deployment of renewables.


Strawman argument. I have been saying all along that we're only scratching the surface with renewables.

Cost curves are coming down - and investment money into the new technologies continues to increase.


Meanwhile practical difficulties in integrating more renewables are popping up and external costs are increasing, and increasingly hidden by offloading them onto other people through subsidies and laws.

Countries like Denmark, Germany, Scotland, Portugal are currently the outlier - but in time they will become the standard.


They cannot, because their current implementation of renewables isn't scalable. They exist only because they're taking advantage of a larger system that doesn't employ renewable energy to the same extent. The virtual battery doesn't work when everyone does it.


Jan 12, 2015
understanding - which totally flies in the face of reality.


The reality is that renewable energy currently works only because it's small. 5% here, 10% there, but when it starts to make a difference it increasingly stops working because you can't trasmit hundreds of gigawatts of randomly appearing and disappearing power willy nilly across continents and thousands of miles. The existing grid systems simply are not built for that.

There's this profound lack of investment in any technology that would enable us to scale up renewables production beyond insignificant, while everyone pretends those costs will never materialize, the technology isn't really needed because "the grid is going to take care of it and you just don't understand it" - like gkam is arguing - and it's only going to go down from here.


Jan 12, 2015
Heck, even just pointing out the very real fact that the supposedly 40% of wind power in the Danish grid is actually just 5% of their actual energy demand gets your kind of trolls jumping up from the ground making red herring appeals against nuclear power or whatever possible to distract from the issue.

The cognitive dissonance is strong. It's easier to shoot the messenger than accost the actual problem, because that would require self-criticism.




Jan 12, 2015
Welcome back, Eikka. Now tell us how long it took fort nukes to get a similar percentage of power production. Then, tell us where the high-level waste went.

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