Denmark, already the world’s leader in wind energy, gained a couple more percentage points in 2012, and wind was now responsible for meeting 30 percent of the country’s electricity consumption. The Danish Wind Association said this latest step forward puts the country “well on its way toward a target of 50 percent wind energy in 2020.”
New capacity helped spur the rising wind production; the Danes said 170 megawatts were added, while the Global Wind Energy Council in a report last week put the figure at 217 MW, and said Denmark had 4,162 MW online at the end of 2012. Portions of the big Anholt offshore wind farm began producing power last year, and this year the rest of the it is scheduled to follow suit.
“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,”Sune Strøm, chief economist at the Danish Wind Industry Association, said in a statement.
The 400-MW Anholt alone is expected to provide 4 percent of the country’s electricity consumption, several more arrays of that size or larger are in the pipeline.
With its high wind penetration, Denmark is becoming something of a test case, a country being watch by others to see how it pulls it off. It is a big challenge – there have been instances when the fast-spinning turbines were delivering more energy than the country needed, forcing it to unload the power elsewhere at a loss. But the Danes are confident that they can meet the challenge by building the world’s smartest grid, by wider integration with other European nations to balance supply and demand and by electrifying the transportation sector.
In addition to sourcing 50 percent of its electricity from wind by 2020, Denmark wants to see 35 percent of its total energy coming from renewables by then. The company aims to be powered 100 percent by renewable sources by 2050.