Library filed under Energy Policy from Denmark
Most shocking of all is new evidence that the need to switch on and off base load fossil fuel power plants, to provide back up for unreliable wind turbines, actually gives off more carbon emissions than keeping them running continuously, thus negating any carbon savings from wind. Alas, only when our governments have allowed thousands more turbines to disfigure Britain’s countryside, not least by their grotesque bending of the planning rules, will the futility of the ‘great Wind Scam’ finally be recognised.
International Experience With Implementing Wind Energy examines the relative costs, advantages and disadvantages of wind generation. In addition, the report explores infrastructure issues, public attitudes toward wind development, and the various policy instruments used to support the development of wind energy in countries that are leaders in implementing wind energy.
Wind power has a defect: it only generates when there is a breeze, so it's no good for supplying peak electricity just when you need it. The Danes get around this problem by importing lots of electricity from Sweden and Germany, thereby passing the pollution problem to someone else, as well as quietly making use of Sweden's atomic stations. If the Danes didn't import electricity, they'd have to have more gas plants and so make even more emissions.
The West Danish model clearly shows that the installation of large numbers of wind turbines can lead to severe and expensive problems with power transmission, and seriously degrade wildlife habitats and the aesthetic value of land- and seascapes for little or no reduction in carbon emissions. It is therefore imperative that energy conservation schemes and alternative sources of renewable energy are more thoroughly explored before large swathes of unique UK countryside and coastal scenery are lost to industrial wind stations. Conservation measures alone could reduce UK carbon emissions by 30% (Coppinger, 2003).
This working paper is made available by the Resource and Environmental economics and Policy Analysis (REPA) Research Group at the University of Victoria. REPA working papers have not been peer reviewed and contain preliminary research findings. They shall not be cited without the expressed written consent of the author(s). Editor's Note: The authors’ conclusion regarding ‘effective capacity’, i.e. the measure of a generator’s contribution to system reliability that is tied to meeting peak loads, is that it “is difficult to generalize, as it is a highly site-specific quantity determined by the correlation between wind resource and load” and that ‘values range from 26 % to 0% of rated capacity.” This conclusion is based, in part, on a 2003 study by the California Energy Commission that estimated that three wind farm aggregates- Altamont, San Gorgonio and Tehachpi, which collectively represent 75% of California’s deployed wind capacity- had relative capacity credits of 26.0%, 23.9% and 22.0% respectively. It is noteworthy that during California’s Summer ’06 energy crunch, as has been widely publicized in the press, wind power produced at 254.6 MW (10.2% of wind’s rated capacity of 2,500MW) at the time of peak demand (on July 24th) and over the preceding seven days (July 17-23) produced at 89.4 to 113.0 MW, averaging only 99.1 MW at the time of peak demand or just 4% of rated capacity.
There is an added irony here. The Danish consumer pays the highest tariffs for electricity in Europe. Much of these are hypothecated for the support of windmill owners. However, the wind power is sold on the spot market at rates that are much lower.
"The global oil price rise in the 1970s prompted the Danish government to switch to imported coal for its thermal power stations and to start a wind energy programme targeted at generating 10% of electricity by 2000. The target was achieved and there are now 5500 wind turbines rated at 3000 MW—including the world’s two largest offshore wind farms at Nysted (Fig. 1) and Horns Rev— producing around 16% of national demand. This paper reports on performance data of the west Denmark power grid, to which 80% of the country’s wind power is connected. The east Denmark power grid is entirely separate but both grids are heavily interconnected to the national grids of neighbouring countries to the north and south."
This table shows the Danish emissions of greenhouse gases calculated in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol. In 2003 Denmark has increased the emissions by 6.2% compared to the base year (1990) and by 7.3% compared to 2002.
If you really want to cut energy consumption, reduce pollution, improve public health and protect our environment, it’s time to contact your elected officials, educate them about the lessons of Denmark, Germany and elsewhere, and tell them you want tougher energy efficiency measures instead of wind power plants. Otherwise, in the next few years, you’ll be looking at wind turbines in some of your favorite places, with the knowledge that they’re doing little more than funneling your tax dollars to a few lucky corporations and landowners, and away from better solutions.
Denmark (population c. 5.4 million) is a leading pioneer in renewable energy. Since 1985 it has set up about 3,100 MW of wind capacity. Of this 420 MW are sited offshore (Nielsen, 2004), and more is planned for the near future (Bendtsen and Hedegaard, 2004). Over the same period many small gas- or bio-fuelled CHP plants were deployed, primarily for local district heating but also to produce electricity. Interest in solar power is also considerable.
Appearing in the July 2004 issue of "The Utilities Journal", author David White responds to Steffen Nielsen's article appearing in the May 2004 issue extolling the success of wind generators in Denmark. White contends that Nielsen tells only half the story by omitting many important aspects of the Danish program particularly the cost, annual availability and operability of wind generation. White concludes: "it makes no economic sense to progress an expensive and unpredictable power-generating technology in order to see a parallel carbon dioxide reduction goal when the evidence clearly indicates the objective will not be met."
They introduced the world to "environmentally friendly" energy, but now some of Europe's "greenest" countries are under pressure to backtrack on wind farms as public anger grows over their impact on the countryside.
During the 1990s, West Denmark experienced a revolution in its generating capacity. Wind capacity grew from almost nothing in the mid-1980s to more than 60% of peak, local consumption in 2002. Similarly, the electricity generating capacity of smaller, decentralized CHP grew from very small beginnings in the late 1980s to almost 50% of the six, central CHP power plants that supply all the major towns with district heating. In a single decade, the nominal generating capacity of West Denmark more or less doubled. In 2002, renewable, mostly wind energy supplied the equivalent of roughly 19% of West Denmark’s consumption. This will increase to 21%, or so, during 2003. There are about 2.7 million residents in West Denmark, so the number of wind generators per head of population is 1.74 machines per 1000 people. In the UK, this would amount to about 100,000. West Denmark is therefore the most intensely wind mill populated land on the planet.
In conclusion, this study has shown that in many countries deregulation is having the expected effect of increased competition leading to price reduction. However, it is evident that pricing in markets depends not just on the status of deregulation, but also on the broader aspects of competition. Key factors here include the balance of supply and demand, generation fuel costs, the learning process that new markets go through, competition within different market segments and the costs of access to transmission and distribution networks. Deregulation is a long-term process that requires sustained attention.
With limited reserves of only oil and gas and the perceived onset of global warming, Denmark has a great incentive to develop new technologies for exploiting alternative sources of renewable energy and reducing energy demand. One of its many options is the harnessing of wind energy - a route that it has explored in great detail. This report describes some serious problems encountered in the extensive deployment of wind turbines in Denmark, and briefly summarises published accounts of the experiences and opinions of variously implicated Danish and foreign organisations and bodies.
This paper analyses aspects of environmental policy in Denmark, including, among others, policy on surface water quality, clean air and support for renewable energy, waste disposal and transport policy. Environmental policies are an important priority in Denmark, with implementation often highly decentralised, but in some cases environmental objectives have been pursued at what seems a high price, perhaps through a wish to support the development of a domestic industry or to protect existing industry from loss of competitiveness. The paper criticises some of the arguments used in favour of this high cost approach in a number of contexts, including wind power subsidies, the carbon tax and the treatment of nutrient discharges from agriculture. The paper also discusses a number of innovative and efficient policies introduced or planned, for example the new approach to promoting renewable energy (including wind power) through tradable “green certificates” and a CO2 trading scheme in electricity production. In some areas, such as policy for non-hazardous waste, apparent expansion of the role of economic instruments (through a series of differentiated taxes on disposal) seems to be dominated in practice by quantitative targets which may not provide the best outcomes.
Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in moving air into rotational energy, which in turn is converted to electricity. Since wind speeds vary from month to month and second to second, the amount of electricity wind can make varies constantly. Sometimes a wind turbine will make no power at all. This variability does affect the value of the wind power……Editor’s Note: This ‘fact sheet’ is, on the whole, a comparatively fair report. The definitions provided for capacity factor, efficiency, reliability, dispatchability, and availability are useful. Its discussion of back-up generation, marginal emissions and Germany & Denmark, however, is disingenuous as is, to a lesser degree, its discussion of capacity factor and availability. IWA's comments (updated October '06) on these issues follow selected extracts from the 'fact sheet' below.
This addresses the most important challenges confronting Eltra, the Transmission System Operator in Western Denmark.