According to the country’s own data, Denmark produced 42% of its total electricity last year from wind power alone, and all this despite two of its larger wind farms actually being offline.
The figures are likely to be championed by those in favour of promoting energy production from wind turbines here in the UK, who have been lamenting the succession of restrictions and subsidy cuts that the industry has been facing of late.
This is now the second year running during which electricity produced through wind farms has hit record levels in Denmark; figures for 2014 were only 3% lower than last year’s.
This also brings the country ever closer to their target of generating at least 50% of all of their electricity from wind turbines by the year 2050.
The Danish energy minister, Lars Christian Lilleholt, alluded to the impact that these figures could have in terms of influencing the rest of the world’s attitude towards wind farms.
He said: “hopefully, Denmark can serve as an example t other countries that it is possible to have both ambitious green policies with a high proportion of wind energy and other renewables in the energy supply, and still have a high security of supply and competitive prices on electricity.”
The point on security of supply is a pertinent one, particularly given our situation here in the UK. Energy security is something that Amber Rudd has been pointing to as driving much of her decision making that has led to the cancellation of green initiatives and subsidies in favour of shale gas production.
Britain’s energy gap – the difference between the energy produced and the energy consumed, is running low at the moment, with National Grid having had to implement multiple ‘emergency’ measures to cope with the demand in late 2015. This crisis is something that Rudd and the government have used to justify the need to focus on short term solutions to energy security, where promotion of green initiatives is seen as more of a luxury that can only be afforded when we have more breathing room, so to speak.
The large amounts of wind energy being harnessed in Denmark mean that the Western side of the country has been running in surplus around 16% of the time, with power stations in the regions Jutland and Funen largely responsible.
It is important to note that a large reason for the huge amount of energy generated through wind farms in Denmark was down to, well, large amounts of wind last year. Indeed one day, so much wind blew that enough electricity was generated to not only power the entire country, but also to export 40% of it abroad.
When Denmark run at an energy surplus, they generally export to countries like Sweden, Germany and Norway, from whom they also import both solar produced electricity, and hydroelectric power.