The big wind news of the past year that we keep trumpeting is that US wind power accounted for more new US power capacity in 2012 than coal (which actually declined), natural gas, nuclear, solar, or anything else. It made up 42% of new power capacity additions in the US last year.
But another huge wind power stat from Denmark is also worthy of a trumpet or two. Wind provided enough electricity for over 30% of Denmark’s electricity consumption by the end of 2012. That’s actually a much bigger deal than it may sound if you aren’t familiar with the nuances of this market sector. While the 42% of new capacity figure above is pretty impressive, that’s just new capacity, not total capacity. Furthermore, wind is more variable than conventional power options, so a lower percentage of its capacity is utilized throughout the year. Wind still accounts for just 3–4% of electricity production in the US, and the target is to hit 20% by 2030. So, with that context, I think you can see that Denmark’s figure is very impressive. Pull out your trumpet!
And this isn’t the end of the line for Denmark. The Scandinavian country has actually set a goal to get 50% of its electricity needs from wind power by 2020 (it appears to be well on its way there), and is aiming for 100% renewable energy by 2050.
“The share of 30% wind energy in the electricity consumption is an increase of approx. 2 percentage points compared to 2011. The increase is based on some 170 MW of new capacity built on land and more than 50 MW at sea. At sea, it comes from wind turbines connected to the Anholt Offshore Wind Farm and onshore some 20% comes from Kalundborg Municipality, where 36 MW were installed last year,” the Danish Wind Industry Association wrote on January 31, 2013 (thanks to one of our readers for passing along the information).
“An increase of 2 percentage points may not sound as much, but it is in line with what we expect to reach the official target of 50% in 2020. We will see a slightly larger jump in 2013, when Anholt completed and there will again be some jumps when we connect the next big wind farms and near-shore turbines in 2017-2020,” says chief economist at the Danish Wind Industry Association, Sune Strøm.
The Danish Wind Industry Association’s article on the news adds: “Anholt Offshore Wind Farm will be completed at the end of 2013 and by the time the park’s 400 MW will provide 4% of the Danish electricity consumption. In addition, the planning process has started for Horns Rev III of 400 MW, Krieger’s Flak of 600 MW and the near-shore turbines which will have a combined capacity of 500 MW, of which 50 MW will be test turbines.” [sic]
The new data on wind’s share of electricity consumption come from the Danish Energy Agency’s wind register.
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