Watching Wind Energy At Work In Denmark

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Originally published on the ECOreport.

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Click on image to expand – Screen shot from

I have finally seen a wind energy project that works and of course it would be in Denmark!

My apologies, in advance, to all the people who are going to protest.

I find Jim Wiegand’s research, on how wind turbines are wreaking far more raptor casualties than is being acknowledged, conclusive.

The manner in which wind farms are being forced upon the residents of East County  and Ocotillo, in California, is morally offensive.

Furthermore, the Ocotillo Wind Farm does not really work! Jim Pelley has been documenting the lack of wind since the project went online. Though his report has not arrived yet this morning, I suspect it will be yet another video of wind turbines that are not moving and wind speeds of somewhere between 0 and 4 mph. You can see hundreds of his videos – 373 at last count – at the youtube site Save Ocotillo:

I have heard a few stories about wind farms that work and far more about those that do not. So much, in fact, that I have come to question whether this technology even works.

It does. Let me direct you to the website: It is an live online register of Denmark’s power.

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Note the figures for energy being produced by wind turbines (3407 MW) and electricity consumption (3,608 MW) in the graph to the left .  At the moment the wind turbines are producing a little more than 94% of the energy being used. When I first saw this site, last night, the turbines were producing between 96 and 97%. Earlier this morning, it was close to 100%.

Googling the site, I came across a report from last fall that shows the Danes frequently produce +90% of their energy demand.

As I am typing this, the wind picked up and those turbines are now producing 99.7% of the energy Denmark needs.

Screen-shot-2014-04-13-at-8.02.25-AMI love the simplicity of this system! Rather than waste our time with the hypothetical capacity that turbines seldom reach, the Danes show you how much is being produced and consumed at any given moment.

The graph at the top of this page is much more complex because Denmark imports a fixed amount of energy from Germany and exports surplus energy to Norway and Sweden.

In addition to wind turbines, the Danes have central power stations and local CHP stations.

They are always exporting more energy than they import, which is why the graph says “net exchange eksport.”

At the moment they are exporting 813 MW. The wind has picked up a little and if consumption had not increased even more, they would now be at +100%. Instead, they are meeting 93.38% of the amount domestically consumed.

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I have heard of wind farms that work, but seeing really is believing.

I do not know how long these turbines will continue to produce this amount of energy, but Denmark did not derive 55% of its energy over the course of a month prior to December.

According to Energy statistics 2012, 33% of Denmark’s electricity was derived from renewables in 2012. Production of crude oil and natural gas dropped 8.8% and 11.9% respectively, and renewables went up 5.4%. This contributed to the drop of “observed CO2 emissions from energy consumption,” which fell by 10.3% to 39.9 million tonnes.

It would appear that in Denmark, wind energy does supply a viable energy source — but that does not eradicate the problems.

We should not be eradicating raptors. If the wind sector cannot deal with this problem, we should be looking at alternative technologies like solar.

North Americans should not be building wind farms in areas where they are not economically feasible. When Patrick Jenevein got out of the wind business, he said the industry was being driven by politics rather than economic:

Wind energy will make marginal—not revolutionary—contributions. The industry’s success in Texas (where my company is based, and which is the nation’s largest and cheapest producer of wind power) suggests that wind farms do make sense in relatively windy areas where electricity shortages occur. But policy matters. California, which isn’t located in the ‘wind belt,’ is America’s second-largest wind-energy producer but also its costliest. The state’s high costs are partly due to aggressive renewable energy policies . . . that give developers a strong negotiating position…

Jenevein believes that US government subsidies should be eliminated so that the industry will focus “less on working the political system and more on research and development.”

I have no interest in perpetuating a system that creates, and then refuses to acknowledge, a fiasco like the Ocotillo Wind Farm.

All of that said, it appears that wind technology works when it is used properly.

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Roy L Hales

is the President of Cortes Community Radio , CKTZ 89.5 FM, where he has hosted a half hour program since 2014, and editor of the Cortes Currents (formerly the ECOreport), a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of British Columbia. He is a research junkie who has written over 2,000 articles since he was first published in 1982. Roy lives on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.

Roy L Hales has 441 posts and counting. See all posts by Roy L Hales

42 thoughts on “Watching Wind Energy At Work In Denmark

  • Note: a capacity factor is very specifically how much electricity wind turbines produce compared to how much they can produce at maximum output. So, a typical capacity factor of 40-50% as we see today is a clear indication of how much they work. Of course, windier locations are going to produce more electricity… which is why wind development primarily started in the wind belt. 😀

    • We are seeing higher wind capacity factors largely because developers and policymakers have realized that the duration of available power matters independently of the total. Turbine makers have responded with designs that increase rotor size in relation to generator rating. New farms therefore trade some lost peak output for longer periods at medium output.

      On bird strikes: the influential Brtish bird charity RSPB supports properly-sited wind, as climate change is a greater threat to all wildlife than limited casualties from rotors. Opponents should stop citing Altamont and Tarifa – early installations of many small and low turbines on sites with many birds – as representative of modern practice.

      • LOL, yep, blame all bad natural disaster to global warming. Pretty soon, global warming will get blame for ISIS too

        • Andrew, part of the problem in Syria can be attributed to drought.

          Movements like ISIS are not due to one single reason. But as more economies are damaged by climatic changes look for political reactions. Look for more conflicts driven by water and food shortages and economic disruptions. Expect more climate refugees.

  • Mr. Hales look at to see another real time graph for Spain´s electrical system. Today wind is not doing so much, but look over several weeks worth of data to get a better idea. Last year the single biggest provider of electrical power in Spain was the wind, at about 21% of total, narrowly beating out nuclear at about 20% Overall in 2013 renewables contributed just over 50% of all electricity.

  • Before we get all excited about Wiegand’s paper let’s see the reaction from biologists who do field studies.

    The fact that he’s published this on the web rather than submitting it to a reputable journal makes me hold it at arm length.

  • “The manner in which wind farms are being forced upon the residents of East County and Ocotillo, in California, is morally offensive.”

    Roy, would it be less morally offensive if a coal plant, airport, highway, aluminum smelting plant or any other large project was built in the area? Is this not a case of people who don’t own their distant view becoming upset because whoever owns that view is doing something with it?

    About 30 years ago I bought a house on one acre in a stalled out development in the Sierra foothills. None of the one acre lots around me had been developed and it was like I was living in the middle of a fifty acre wilderness. It was wonderful.

    A few later someone built on the acre next to me and someone built on the acre behind me. Both fairly close to our shared property line. And houses popped up on other lots in my view.

    It was devastating. I lost the wonderful environment I never owned.

  • “North Americans should not be building wind farms in areas where they are not economically feasible.”

    Where would that be, Roy?

    Wind farms get a PTC of 2.3 cents/kWh for their first 10 years of production. That modest subsidy will not pay for the wind farm and put gold into the pockets of the owners.

    “believes that US government subsidies should be eliminated so that the industry will focus “less on working the political system and more on research and development.”

    Fine, remove all subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear plants first. They’ve enjoyed taxpayer support for far longer and in vastly greater amounts than has wind. I’ve no doubt that the wind industry would love to compete on a level playing field.

    But don’t ask wind to give up their subsidy which doesn’t give them the support that their competition has received. This is an argument to make the playing field even more uneven.

  • From well-known peer reviewed studies, it’s clear that fossil fuels, buildings and cats are far, far worse for birds than windfarms — this is why the Audubon Society, the Sierra Club and most mainstream enviro orgs support more wind power.

    OK, it would be great if wind power was perfect, just as it would be wonderful to believe in an energy source that has no negative side effects. But there is no such thing — not even solar. And, there are few places where pure solar is even possible in a 100% renewable energy system: German studies show, for example, that wind is an indispensable ingredient in a 100% renewables mix. Not even in Sunny California is a pure solar system optimal from an economic or a C02 point of view. See:, and

    So, this article doesn’t logically hold together — that is, unless there is a belief that the risks of global warming are exaggerated, or that we will be saved by carbon sequestration or nuclear power.

    If that’s what the author really thinks, then he should come out and say it.

    • “that we will be saved by carbon sequestration or nuclear power.” If the author of this article truly thinks this is the answer he is deluding himself and all his readers. Carbon sequestration is “pie in the sky” developed by the coal lobby to try to maintain market share for their product. Ditto for Nuclear Power unless someone comes up with a “Miracle” nuclear waste disposal system which the nuclear power industry pays for.

  • “They are always exporting more energy than they import, which is why the graph says “net exchange eksport.””

    Denmark is a net importer of electricity so I don’t understand this statement.

    “According to Energy statistics 2012, 33% of Denmark’s electricity was derived from renewables in 2012.”

    As far as I can read the number was 43,1% for 2012.

    The danish system works and a clear indicator of that is the big decrease in fossil fuel used. Both natural gas and coal have been plummeting during the last few years.
    But an important factor in this is that they have the possibility to get power from their neighbors. Export when they have a surplus and import when they need it. It’s the use of regulating power that makes this so successful.
    This dependence is not a bad thing (as long as you trust your neighbors to not cut you off), it gets the most renewables into the system.

    High capacity transmission of electricity as regulating power from Sweden and Norway could help a larger part of Europe to reduce their fossil fuels.

    This could and should be used in many places where regulating renewable energy is avaliable (waterpower, biomass) even if it’s not in your state/country but maybe in the next state/country or even the one after that.
    Transmissions are so good today that it’s possible.

    • Yes, they are using Norway and its hydro as a giant battery. Win-win. Norway gets paid/have cheap electricity a sells more expensive. Denmark can utilitize more wind.

    • Did you check to see how much of that was due to taxes?

      Or might that interfere with your mission?

      • maybe the taxes come from subsidies for renewables? lets ask the danish minister of energy

        “The cost of wind energy needs to drop, or the government will not be building any more wind farms in the future. Rasmus Petersen (R), the climate and energy minister, said that although the government wants more energy from wind farms, it is not willing to
        pay any price for it.

        “I am sorry that the price of power from the Anholt Offshore Wind
        Farm is so high,” Petersen told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “I think it is too much to pay 1.05 kroner per kilowatt-hour (kWh). We need to have a clear objective that energy from future offshore wind farms be significantly lower in price.”

        • We were talking about the price of electricity in Denmark and whether retail customers were paying a high amount due to taxes or the cost of electricity.

          It’s very difficult to get wholesale electricity prices in Europe, so let’s take a look at industrial prices, shall we?

          Danish industry pays 0.086 euro cents per kWh. That’s less than the EU 27 average of 0.094 e-cents.

          “Although ex-tax electricity prices are cost-reflective, due to the liberalisation of the electricity market, the end-use retail prices in Denmark are among the highest in the OECD area, because of high rates of taxation. Retail
          prices consist of four different elements: electrical energy, transmission and distribution elements, and the PSO (additional tax to support renewable energy). Denmark has the highest percentage of taxes in electricity prices for households – 56% in 2010 – while taxes levied on industrial users are relatively lower.”

          So, yes, Danes pay a lot in taxes when they pay their electric bills.

          • And I just found some more interesting info on that site.

            It turns out that Danes pay 0.052 e-cents/kWh for electricity (energy and supply). They pay 0.095 for network costs. And 0.174 in taxes.

            France, however, has a different profile. Their energy costs are 0.094, almost twice as much as Denmark. They pay 0.1295 for network costs. But only 0.056 in taxes, about a third as much as Danes.

            So while many think Denmark has expensive electricity due to renewables, they are actually paying on 55% as much as France to generate electricity which is thought to have cheap electricity thanks to nuclear.

            Talk about getting things backwards.

          • so what Rasmus Petersen, the danish climate and energy minister said is untrue? can you explain why the danish minister would make such a claim if it were untrue?

          • What he said is that offshore wind prices need to come down.

            I suppose Denmark has cheaper electricity sources they can use rather than building more offshore wind.

            Perhaps he is saying that Denmark should build more onshore wind rather than more offshore. They are already about 2:1, on:off.

            Denmark is cutting fossil fuels. I don’t know who Petersen is, who his “friends” are. Perhaps he supports fossil fuel and is working for them and against renewables?

          • Reading around a bit it looks like Peterson is pro-renewable energy.


            “According to the research, electricity generated by onshore wind turbines is the cheapest with just over 30 ører (4 cents) per kWh.

            Offshore wind power, new centralised coal and natural gas power plants and decentralised combined heat and power came in second with costs of almost 60 ører (8 cents) per kWh.

            “I am pleased that the analysis shows that wind is also economically the right way to go. And it’s also good for the environment, security of supply and Danish exports,” says Minister for Climate, Energy and Building Rasmus Helveg Petersen.”


            It sounds to me as if someone has taken Petersen’s statement about the price of offshore wind needing to come down and spun it into an anti-renewable statement.

            Offshore at 8c is higher than Denmark’s ~5c/kWh average generating costs.

            eta: That 8 cents is euro cents. About $0.108/kWh.

          • “It turns out that Danes pay 0.052 e-cents/kWh for electricity (energy
            and supply). They pay 0.095 for network costs. And 0.174 in taxes”

            is that for household or industrial users? industrial price might not be a good metric since it might be subsidized. this source shows on page 7 a graph of the 2012 household retail prices for electricity. Look at the blue part of the bar. It is lower in france than in denmark and in germany. Looks like 10+ cents in france (FR) and 13 and 14 cents in denmark (DK) and germany (DE is germany right?)


          • is that industrial or electricity rpices or hnousehold electricity prices? I dont think its fair to use industrial prices since they have subsidies and they can lobby the government with threats of pulling out their businesses to other countries. While poor domestic consumers have no such power

            this shows the household retail prices for electricity in 2012. Go to page 7 first graph. Look at the blue part of the bar. It is lower in france than in denmark and in germany. Looks like 10+ cents in france (FR) and 13 and 14 cents in denmark (DK) and germany (DE)


          • Taxes.



            Taxes are not the cost of generating electricity.

            Taxes are added onto the top of generating electricity.

            The total paid per kWh is not only the cost of generating electricity.

            The total paid per kWh is the cost of generating electricity, the cost of “delivering”, and any taxes the government puts onto the final price.

            Denmark does not have expensive electricity production.

            Denmark has cheaper electricity production than does “wonderful nuclear France”.

            Denmark has very high energy taxes which makes the retail cost of their electricity expensive.

            Does that make it clear?

          • \




            Taxes are not the cost of generating electricity.

            Taxes are added onto the top of generating electricity.

            The total paid per kWh is not only the cost of generating electricity.\

            but my graphs clearly separate taxes and vat from the price of electricity

          • Well, good. Then you must now realize that the high cost of electricity in Denmark is due to taxes, not wind generation.

          • Your link is broken.

            Let me show you the data….

            (Click on figure to see large.)

          • link broken. i’m getting a :Session invalid!

            Sorry, your session has expired or you have not started the Data Explorer through a nonvalid entry point or no parameter set.


          • http://appsso eurostat ec europa eu/nui/show do?wai=true&dataset=nrg_pc_204_c

            Replace the spaces with periods and that might work.

          • That’s for Consumption Band DB (1,000-2,500 KWh).

            Mine is from Consumption Band DA (<1,000 KWh).

          • Or household (<1,000 kWh) vs. commercial.

          • Can’t link to a sub-page on the EU site. I found that out a few days ago.
            What works is a screen capture (Print Screen) and conversion to jpeg.

          • \Your link is broken.\

            seems to be working from my end

            i’ll try a URL shortener. just remove the spaces

            htt p ://tinyurl . com/ mcj3x5d

          • another source with 2 figures showing 2013 home consumer and industrial electricity prices. This time look at the purple part of the graph


            for household consumers, the basic price of electricity/plus levies in france is around 10/13 E-cents. for denmark its around 13/24

            for industrial customers in france its arond 8/9.5 and for denmark its around 9/10.5

          • How about we look at the cost of electricity and not the cost of taxes?

            Use the EU database that I linked and you will be able to break production cost and taxes apart. I gave you those numbers for Danish residential and French residential from the database.

            ” Danes pay 0.052 e-cents/kWh for electricity (energy and supply)”

            “France, however, has a different profile. Their energy costs are 0.094, almost twice as much as Denmark.

            Danes pay more per kWh for their electricity. But most of that per kWh charge is taxes, not what it costs to generate electricity in Denmark. Is that too hard to understand or do you simply not want to accept the numbers for some other reason?

          • so you said ” and the PSO (additional tax to support renewable energy).”

            so thats a yes that renewable energy is part of what drives up the cost?

            also, industrial electricity cost usually isnt a good measure since in some countries industry gets subsidies and the cost is passed on to consumers

            “As part of Germany’s switch to renewables, industry has been
            exempt from paying higher prices associated with solar and wind energy.
            The European Commission, however, believes the practice distorts
            competition on the Continent. Huge penalties could be in store.”


  • Renewable energy is great but expensive. The reason this works is because they use their neighbors (Norway, Sweden). Since Denmark generates most of its energy when it is not needed they have to sell to their neighbors at low prices to them. This is a boon to their neighbors; but their citizens don’t get to enjoy all of that energy and they have to import their baseload from their neighbors. Their neighbors can charge them higher rates during the day, because that is when it is most expensive to meet peak demand.

    This kind of inter-connectivity is necessary but somewhat annoying. Imagine if Arizona developed tons of solar panels then sold the energy to California at high rates during the day when they were on fire from the sun. What if California developed wind energy and sold Arizonan’s their power at night at rock bottom prices? That would be swindling California taxpayers for the right to brag.

    And the price is simply hidden in the taxes so claiming that it has low prices in the short-run is misleading. It raises the governmental debt which is necessarily paid off by its taxpayers. Shifting costs from your right to left pocket isn’t “saving”. Once the investment is paid off (because capital costs are high) then they will enjoy cheap energy.

    • Denmark’s cost of electricity is below the EU average. Less than places like the UK, Belgium, Ireland Italy and others. Even Sweden and Norway.

      Their taxes per kWh are high.

      It looks to me as if the Danes are not hurting themselves with their energy exchanges. And if they paid lower electricity taxes then their taxes would go up somewhere else. As it is, putting heavy taxes on electricity consumption drives efficiency.

      Better than taxing labor more heavily and discouraging workers.

      Your Arizona/California thing makes no sense to me. If AZ has power when CA needs it and CA couldn’t find a high priced market for the power it could produce then we’d see a transfer of money from one state to another.

      Just like what happens now when people in other states buy California Teslas. Are we cheating people in other states because we make the best car in the world?

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