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Denmark banks on offshore wind power

Denmark, a world leader in wind energy production and consumption, has built the world's largest offshore wind park in the North Sea as it aims to generate 75 percent of its electricity needs with wind power by 2025.

Denmark, a world leader in wind energy production and consumption, has built the world's largest offshore wind park in the North Sea as it aims to generate 75 percent of its electricity needs with wind power by 2025.

Looking out from the port of Esbjerg, the blades of 80 giant wind turbines rotate high in the sky at the Horns Reef wind farm about 20 kilometres offshore.

The 160 megawatts of wind energy capacity generated by the park is enough to meet the needs of 150 000 homes for a full year.

'We aim to make Denmark independent of oil'

Horns Reef is the newest of Denmark's 11 offshore parks constructed since 1991. Offshore wind power now totals a capacity of 398 megawatts, or 12 percent of the about 3 100 megawatts of wind energy generated in Denmark in 2006.

Denmark is one of the pioneers in the field of wind power along with Germany and Spain, and part of a growing European trend toward wind power.

With indigenous fossil fuels running out, energy prices on the rise, global scrambling for reserves and nuclear power still controversial in numerous countries, Europe is increasingly looking to renewable energies such as solar and wind power.

In March,... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Denmark, a world leader in wind energy production and consumption, has built the world's largest offshore wind park in the North Sea as it aims to generate 75 percent of its electricity needs with wind power by 2025.

Looking out from the port of Esbjerg, the blades of 80 giant wind turbines rotate high in the sky at the Horns Reef wind farm about 20 kilometres offshore.

The 160 megawatts of wind energy capacity generated by the park is enough to meet the needs of 150 000 homes for a full year.

'We aim to make Denmark independent of oil'

Horns Reef is the newest of Denmark's 11 offshore parks constructed since 1991. Offshore wind power now totals a capacity of 398 megawatts, or 12 percent of the about 3 100 megawatts of wind energy generated in Denmark in 2006.

Denmark is one of the pioneers in the field of wind power along with Germany and Spain, and part of a growing European trend toward wind power.

With indigenous fossil fuels running out, energy prices on the rise, global scrambling for reserves and nuclear power still controversial in numerous countries, Europe is increasingly looking to renewable energies such as solar and wind power.

In March, the 27-member European Union committed itself to making renewable energies the source of 20 percent of the total energy consumption across the bloc by 2020. The current level is just six to seven percent.

According to the European Wind Energy Agency (EWEA), wind power accounted for 3,3 percent of Europe's electricity requirements in 2006.

Germany is now the largest market for wind power in Europe, with more than 20 000 megawatts of wind power capacity installed at the end of 2006, followed by Spain with 11 615 and Denmark with 3 136, according to EWEA figures.

Italy has 2 123 megawatts installed, Britain 1 963, France 1 567 and the Netherlands 1 560.

The Danish government in January announced plans to double the country's renewable energies to at least 30 percent of all energy consumed in Denmark by 2025, looking heavily to wind power.

In order to achieve that goal, a Horns Reef 2 is already in the offing (95 turbines with a capacity of 200 megawatts), to be followed by a further 22 offshore parks.

"We aim to make Denmark independent of oil, gas and coal in the long term ... and strengthen our position as a world leader in clean energy," Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said recently.

The Scandinavian country - one of the biggest per capita polluters of carbon dioxide - is due to host the UN Climate Summit in 2009, and wants to lead the way in the fight against global warming.

The country's 5 200 wind turbines, most of which are land-based, already supply 20 percent of Danish electricity needs, a number that is expected to grow to 50 or even 75 percent by 2025, according to a government-commissioned study.

Though more expensive than land-based wind farms, offshore wind parks are more efficient as they can take advantage of stronger, steadier coastal breezes.

"The future belongs to offshore wind turbines and we have to bank heavily on that even if they are expensive, in order to accommodate the public that wants to see the turbines placed offshore," said Energy Minister Flemming Hansen.

Denmark is a small country of just 43 000 square kilometres and space on land is limited for large wind farms.

"Offshore energy has a future, especially in densely populated countries. It is more expensive, 50 to 100 percent more expensive (than land-based turbines), but more efficient as the wind (at sea) is stronger, the turbines are more powerful and they disturb people less," said Birger T Madsen, an expert on renewable energies at BTM Consult.

And a majority of Danes are ready to pay more for clean electricity, according to a recent poll.

Denmark is also home to Vestas, the world's biggest manufacturer of wind turbines.

"The offshore wind park market is of course small (12 percent in Denmark and 1,3 worldwide), but it is growing, especially in Britain and the Netherlands.

There is no doubt that it holds great potential," the head of Vestas Ditlev Engel told AFP. - Sapa-AFP



Source: http://www.iol.co.za/index....

MAY 11 2007
http://www.windaction.org/posts/8808-denmark-banks-on-offshore-wind-power
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