Denmark champions wind power, sets record

January 10, 2015 by Nancy Owano

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.

Explore further: Vestas says record powerful wind turbine in operation

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