It’s a rough weather outside as I write this, and windy enough to produce 4.6 gigawatts (GW) of electricity. Add to that the conventional power sources that run more or less for stabilizing purposes, and Denmark needs to export 1.5 GW. As you can see below, it’s good to have high-capacity connections to Sweden and Norway. Look at those 1.5 GW going to charge all those EVs in Norway!
There is also massive physical grid capacity to Germany, but it’s limited to a maximum of 11% usage due to self imposed rules at the German operator TenneT. So Denmark has to be careful not to hit that limit, which is often a problem when Norway and Sweden have had enough. However, that is about to change.
According to Dansk Energi (Danish Energy), the EU Commissioner of competition Margrethe Vestager has threatened to fine TenneT 10% of its worldwide revenue if it does not comply to EU law and raise the maximum usage to 75% right away, which means 1.3 GW. After this TenneT is forced to raise the general capacity to 2.6 GW no later than 2026.
This is a big deal for Denmark. Danish Energi Deputy Managing Director Anders Stouge elaborates:
We still need details of the decision, but basically this is a good day for the green change, the Danish power producers, and the EU’s basic value of trade. For years we have fought for free access to export Danish energy to Germany, and we are therefore pleased with the timely message from the Commission that electricity has to flow freely in Europe. If the EU’s ambition for an internal energy market is to be more than mere talk, it requires a consistent enforcement of the rules. The European Commission now delivers. The Commission’s decision is a clear message to the German network operator TenneT that it has to stop pulling the plug for electricity from Danish and Nordic power producers.
This possibility of export of wind energy to an open EU market is very important for Denmark, especially considering the very high coastline to land area ratio with huge offshore potential. With +6,000 wind turbines in this country now at a total nameplate capacity of at least 5.5 GW, an additional 2.4 GW of offshore capacity planned, and an updating potential of existing onshore turbines, the total capacity can easily reach 10 GW within the next decade. This way, Denmark can offset the lost revenue on oil exports that diminishes as demand drops, with the rise of renewable energy capacity.