Clean Power

Published on February 1st, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan


Wind Energy Hits Over 30% Of Denmark’s Electricity Consumption At End Of 2012

February 1st, 2013 by  

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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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Excellent. Yes. Wind power meets much of energy needs in Denmark during peak time. I worked in Denmark and could see the Wind Turbines running continuously during most of the time.
    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

  • Pingback: Copenhagen Carbon Neutral By 2025, Danish Capital Moving Towards Ambitious Goal | CleanTechnica()

  • Venture Guy

    You do realize they have to export and import electricity to German, Norway to accomplish this. As they are tiny market relatative to Germany they can do this. But the sad part is Germany’s CO2 is going up…even with their massive spending on Solar and Wind…Their Electricity cost have increased 40% in 5 years. I guess if your plan is to force low income people to do without electricity…then you have a great plan! Also Denmark’s largest electric company moved their generation offshore as the people complained so much about it being onshore next to people. We are industrialism vast parts of the northeastern US with these machine that generate electricity 10%-35% of the time…what is your plan for the rest of the generation? Did you know that Denmark has increase wood burning and increased CO2…as the bean counters…don’t count the pollution from wood fires. In California 10% of the Golden Eagle population is killed each year by Industrial Wind Power…. Nuclear is currently the ONLY 100% available CO2 Free source…what is your plan for the 70% of time the wind doesn’t blow?

  • Kalan

    You state “Wind still accounts for just 3–4% of
    electricity production in the US…” and I was wondering if you could please
    clarify for me why these percentages are so different from the 6% that
    Bloomberg is now claiming that the US is producing after the big installation
    total for 2012:

    • Bob_Wallace

      I think Bloomberg is talking about “generation capacity” and not “realized/output/production capacity”.

      No energy generation system produces 100% of the time. The best nuclear fleets have output capacity of about 90%. Coal is about 85%. Wind, on average is 38%.

      First half of 2013 wind generated 3.5% of all US electricity. Wind’s generation capacity was greater than 3.5% but the wind does not blow strong 24/365.

      I just multiplied 6% x 38% and got 2.3% as the hypothetical amount of US wind-generated electricity. That’s lower than the 3.5% measured.

      I suspect the reason is that we have a lot of generation capacity that has very low actual output capacity because it spends a lot of time sitting idle.

      We need the ability to supply peak-peak demand on those very hot summer days when AC units are gulping it down. That means that a lot of gas plants and some coal and hydro generation is turned off when demand is lower. We’ve got gas peaking plants which run only a few hours per year.

      We’ve also got backup generation which might not even be run in a given year. Recently at least one gas plant was taken out of mothballs in San Diego because they’ve got reactors down. That would have been a gas plant with a 0% output capacity for years.

      • Yep, exactly. Thanks for expounding on that (better than I probably would have) before I even saw the question. 😀

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