Library filed under Energy Policy from Denmark
Wind turbines, despite being so very green themselves, are antipathetic to nature. On forested hillsides, they require the clear felling of woodland; on low-lying coastal sites, they necessitate the draining of wetland to facilitate the construction of access roads and enormous concrete foundations. ...In spite of the cost, wind power generates only about 4 per cent of the electricity used in Denmark: the truth is that almost all of it is wasted.
Sometimes it seems Denmark's primary goal in life is to make the U.S. feel environmentally inferior. ...The story of Denmark is one to heed as we prepare to dive headlong into alternatives. Bryce douses the green energy movement with a cold shower of facts and figures, ones that collectively remind us that a transition to wind and solar power would take decades, that it would be astronomically expensive, that it would make the U.S. reliant on China for turbines, and that it would lead to "energy sprawl."
Promoters of "green" energy love Denmark. On Earth Day, President Barack Obama pointed out that the northern European country now "produces almost 20 percent" of its electricity with wind turbines. ...Here's the reality: When it comes to carbon dioxide emissions, coal consumption, or energy prices, the Danes have no reason to brag.
Denmark, which hosts the UN climate change conference next week, is often seen as one of the most environmentally friendly countries in the world. This reputation is mostly undeserved, but Denmark is doing its best to catch up.
Its capital, Copenhagen, won the moral right to host next month's climate change summit in good part because Denmark seems to have found the winning balance between growth and carbon reduction. Wind power is coming on strong. Its citizens are willing to pay sky-high electricity prices to encourage conservation. Its hot-water-based district heating system is considered a marvel of energy efficiency. ...But this small, wealthy Nordic country - population 5.4-million - may not be as green as advertised. The fine print in Denmark's Energy Agency data paints a paler picture.
Danish Wind Industry Association managing director Jan Hylleberg said ‘Our surveys show there's a huge desire in the councils to construct more windmills ...however, the energy gained from any new wind turbines would almost be offset by the planned removal of older and malfunctioning ones by 2020.
Two Danish experts in the field of wind energy will be in Washington for the next three days to speak on the subject of wind generated electricity. One would expect they are here to brag on the fact that their country is a leader in the field and that they already satisfy, as President Obama puts it, "20 percent of the electricity through wind power." One would be wrong in such an expectation. They are here to warn us about the dangers of putting our electricity needs in the wind power basket.
A technical critique of Denmark's wind energy development and operation. A brief summary of the report appears below. The full report can be downloaded by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.
It is important to understand why the Danish government, which appears to have commissioned Mr. Pedersen's comments, is sensitive to critiques of the Danish experience with wind power. Denmark is home to Vestas, the world's largest wind turbine manufacturer, with 20,000 employees and a market share of between 20% and 25%. As the market for its turbines in Denmark and other European countries becomes saturated, it seeks to export the Danish experience worldwide. To this end, it recently ran a multi-million dollar global ad campaign with the slogan, "Believe in the wind," claiming that Denmark has solved the problem of dirty electricity through wind power.
Danish wind turbines are now producing so much energy that they may have to be stopped at night in order to avoid excess production duties. ..."When prices go negative, wind turbines will probably have equipment installed so that you can reduce production," Marketing Manager Nicolaj Nørgaard Petersen tells Jyllands-Posten.
Plans to get Britain's first offshore wind farm producing power again after a gap of almost three years have been stalled by a further technical hitch. Rotor blades on the two turbines off Cambois, Northumberland have not turned since March 2006, when the seabed cable connecting them to the mainland snapped.
Local councils in the country's 28 windiest towns are digging in their heels against a national plan that would cluster the next generation of high-efficiency wind turbines within their borders, Politiken newspaper reports. ...Facing the prospect of asking their residents to accept an average of 35 giant wind turbines, local councillors are already warning national politicians that they are preparing to put up a fight.
Denmark still leads the world in wind power per capita but experts are worried that its position is starting to weaken. Statistics continue to support Denmark's claim to being one of the world leaders when it comes to wind energy, but experts are concerned over failure to erect new wind turbines, reports financial daily Børsen.
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.
Almost a fifth of the electricity produced annually in Denmark is generated by wind, yet only about 6% of the country’s electricity demand is satisfied directly from this source. Possibly two-thirds of its wind power output cannot be used to satisfy domestic needs at the moment of generation, and has to be exported (often at reduced prices) to preserve the integrity of the grid. Savings in carbon emissions are minimal. Public opposition and reduced subsidies have halted the deployment of on-shore wind turbines for the time being, but political and commercial interests are pressing to integrate much larger amounts of wind power into radically altered domestic and international transmission systems.
Since the oil shocks of the 1970s, governments around the world have paid plenty of lip service to renewable energies such as wind and solar power. But only a few governments have been able to engineer policies that have begun to bring alternative energies into wider use. Renewable fuels provided 18% of the world’s total electricity supply in 2004, according to figures from the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based intergovernmental organization. Almost all of that, though, came from hydropower, a source with limited growth potential because of geographic constraints. The use of wind and solar power is growing, but they still generated only 1% of global electricity production in 2004, the latest year for which figures are available.
The government’s plan to increase the nation’s reliance on green power could expand a black hole that already sucks nearly two billion kroner out of consumers’ pockets annually. In order to promote construction of wind turbines, the government has agreed to purchase the electricity they generate at a minimum price. The guaranteed prices have had the desired effect: some 5300 wind turbines dot the Danish countryside, producing 18.5 percent of all electricity generated. The practice has its downside, however. The guaranteed prices for wind power results in an overproduction that cost the state an excess DKK 21.6 billion between 2001 and 2005, according to figures from the National Audit Agency. Due to the uncertainty of whether the wind will blow, Energinet.dk, the organisation responsible for ensuring that the country can meet its electricity demand, has to keep a reserve of conventionally produced electricity in case the wind dies down. The extra cost is typically passed on to consumers in the form of higher electric bills.
The country’s energy companies are not convinced that wind power is the way of the future................. The companies believe that coal-powered electricity will still be the largest supplier of the nation’s energy, despite the trend toward environmentally-conscious sources. ‘Wind energy can’t solve the energy problem in the near future because it’s too unstable and possibly too expensive,’ said Anders Eldrup, chief executive of Dong.
Rube Goldberg would admire the utter purity of the pretensions of wind technology in pursuit of a safer modern world, claiming to be saving the environment while wreaking havoc upon it. But even he might be astonished by the spin of wind industry spokesmen. Consider the comments made by the American Wind Industry Association.s Christina Real de Azua in the wake of the virtual nonperformance of California.s more than 13,000 wind turbines in mitigating the electricity crisis precipitated by last July.s .heat storm.. .You really don.t count on wind energy as capacity,. she said. .It is different from other technologies because it can.t be dispatched.. (84) The press reported her comments solemnly without question, without even a risible chortle. Because they perceive time to be running out on fossil fuels, and the lure of non-polluting wind power is so seductive, otherwise sensible people are promoting it at any cost, without investigating potential negative consequences-- and with no apparent knowledge of even recent environmental history or grid operations. Eventually, the pedal of wishful thinking and political demagoguery will meet the renitent metal of reality in the form of the Second Law of Thermodynamics (85) and public resistance, as it has in Denmark and Germany. Ironically, support for industrial wind energy because of a desire for reductions in fossil-fueled power and their polluting emissions leads ineluctably to nuclear power, particularly under pressure of relentlessly increasing demand for reliable electricity. Environmentalists who demand dependable power generation at minimum environmental risk should take care about what they wish for, more aware that, with Rube Goldberg machines, the desired outcome is unlikely to be achieved. Subsidies given to industrial wind technology divert resources that could otherwise support effective measures, while uninformed rhetoric on its behalf distracts from the discourse.and political action-- necessary for achieving more enlightened policy.
A twin national focus on renewable energy and reduced consumption - combined with North Sea oil reserves, have helped to make Denmark the only EU country not reliant on imported energy, according to the latest statistics from Eurostat.