At the time of the first oil crisis in 1973, Denmark’s oil imports supplied 92% of its energy while the degree of energy self-sufficiency was only about 2%. By introducing carbon taxes which progressively pushed the price of petrol (gas) to become the most expensive in Europe. Denmark now has zero imports from the Middle East and supplies over 20% of its energy needs from wind power. More than half of this is exported - so it only actually uses nine percent of the wind energy it generates. If the Danes couldn't do this, their system wouldn't work. Its Horns Rev system of 80 wind turbines in the North Sea is the biggest off-shore wind farm in the world and generates enough power to supply 150,000 homes, more than the 300 wind turbines on-shore. On windy days it exports power to Germany, Sweden and Norway, and on days with insufficient wind, imports from those neighbors. 
November 2014:Denmark aims for 100% renewable energy.
Denmark is pursuing the world’s most ambitious policy against climate change aiming to end the burning of fossil fuels in any form by 2050, not just in electricity production, as some other countries hope to do, but in transportation as well.  Denmark is above 40% renewable power today on their electric grid, aiming toward 50% by 2020. link 

Recent news:

(2105) Goal - 50% renewables Denmark installed its first wind turbines as far back as the 1970s and has not let up in recent years. Denmark is now the leading country in the world for wind power. In 2014, Denmark set a world record for windmill production. The country now enjoys around 40% of its total electricity from this one clean energy source, alone. New studies show that Denmark is well on its way to meeting its self-set goal of being 50% powered by renewable resources by 2020 and 100% by 2050. link


Denmark's energy consumption - the amount of fuel it uses to heat its buildings, drive its cars and power its economy - has held stable for more than 30 years, even as the country's gross domestic product has doubled, according to the International Energy Agency, a Paris group that tracks energy prices and policies. During the same period, energy consumption in the U.S. has risen 40%, while its GDP has quadrupled. The average Dane uses 6,600 kilowatt hours of electricity a year, compared with 13,300 for the average American. Between 1996 and 2006, Denmark reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 19%.
Observed emissions of CO2 from energy consumption fell in 2011 by 10.3%. When adjusted for foreign trade in electricity and fluctuations in climate, CO2 emissions fell in 2011 by 2.4%. Since 1990, adjusted CO2 emissions from energy consumption have fallen by 25.0%. link

In 1976, a government led by the Social Democratic Party laid out a series of ambitious energy plans, including developing renewable energy from wind turbines, exploring the North Sea for oil and natural gas, and conserving energy. Denmark is now self-sufficient in energy and actually exports oil, gas and electricity. High energy costs, coupled with rising labor expenses, have made it harder for many companies to compete. But those that did survive were forced into strategies that gave them a head start on European rivals that are just now starting to become energy-efficient. High energy taxes have been good for the country, but not good for companies, yet Danish individuals have largely acquiesced to the higher energy prices. In an opinion poll by the European Union (2007), more people in Denmark than in any other country said they would be willing to pay higher prices for energy derived from clean sources.


News items.

January 2015: Denmark sets world record in wind energy. In 2014, wind-generated energy made up 39.1% of Denmark's overall electricity consumption which makes the country the world's leading nation in wind-based power usage. This is an increase from 18.8% since 2004. link

July 2014: Onshore wind power is now cheapest form of energy in Denmark. A new analysis from the government of Denmark found that wind power is by far the cheapest new form of electricity in the country. New onshore wind plants coming online in 2016 will provide energy for about half the price of coal and natural gas plantslink

June 2014 Denmark to launch $1 billion green energy fund. Denmark will establish a nearly $1 billion green fund to attract private capital to reducing energy consumption, fund renewable energy projects and provide a boost to the nation’s job sector, the country’s finance minister Bjarne Corydonlink

February 2014: Denmark sets more ambitious climate goals than all of Europe. Agreement in Denmark’s parliament has cleared the way for passage of climate targets that would outstrip the recent goals set by the European Union. The bill would establish a legally binding requirement that Denmark cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990′s levels by 2020, and that the government returns to the question every five years to set new 10-year targets. The legislation would also establish a Climate Council, modeled on a similar body in Britain, to advise the government on the best ways to continue reducing Denmark’s reliance on fossil fuels. Denmark’s present and former governments have already committed the country to a goal of 100% renewable energy generation by 2050. Meanwhile, Denmark has already been making substantial progress on the climate front. Responding to Climate Change pulled from the Danish Energy Agency, renewable energy accounted for 43.1% of Denmark’s domestic electricity supply in 2012, and for 25.8 percent of all energy consumption in the country that year. Renewables provided 23.1% of the electricity Denmark consumed in 2011. link

(October 2013) Denmark to cut energy use by 12%. Energy consumption in Denmark has been pretty much flat since 1970, whereas in the U.S., consumption has increased about 70%.  U.S. utilities have counted on revenue growth from climbing consumption, making them more likely to resist a slowdown or reversal of that trend. In Denmark, regulation often takes place through negotiations between government and industry, with a mutually agreed-upon consensus as a result. The 2012 agreement is expected to cut 2020 energy use to 12% below 2006 levels. A key difference is that Denmark’s agreement simply sets conservation requirements and lets companies determine the most cost-effective way to reach them, whether it’s handing out energy-efficient light bulbs or helping with insulation installation. And these efforts are cost-neutral for the companies. They have to meet efficiency requirements, and whatever they spend making it happen can be recovered by passing on the costs to consumers. And the very structure of Danish utilities makes things easier. Distribution companies, the ones that are required to promote efficiency, are separate from production companies, the ones that stand to lose out the most if efficiency increases. That also results in distribution companies forming “sister companies” that profit from providing energy savings services. link

September 2010: The falling cost of renewable energy and rising cost of oil and gas will allow Denmark to develop an energy network entirely free of fossil fuels by 2050, according to a report published by the government's climate commission. The committee predicted that wind and biomass energy could meet the bulk of the country's energy requirements. It also argued that switching to renewables would be cheaper than continuing to use fossil fuels, particularly if predictions of soaring oil and gas prices are borne out. link

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March 2012: Denmark – 100% renewables goal by 2050. The Danish parliament had agreed a new set of goals designed to wean the country off oil and gas. Denmark now aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 34% by 2020 (compared to 1990) and to supply 35% of its total energy from renewables, with half of its electricity delivered by wind farms.  ”Denmark will once again be the global leader in the transition to green energy," said Martin Lidegaard, climate minister.  "This will prepare us for a future with increasing prices for oil and coal. Moreover, it will create some of the jobs that we need so desperately, now and in the coming years." The agreement will help Denmark achieve its goal of supplying 100% of its energy from renewables by 2050, including electricity, heating, industry and transport. link  (Video link

December 2009: Thomas Friedman (NYT) explains why Danish politicians and business leaders have accepted high energy taxes to do the right things - while keeping their unemployment rate down to 4%. With only five million people, Denmark boasts some of the leading wind, biofuel and heating, cooling and efficiency companies in the world. Energy technologies are now 11% of Denmark’s exports  

Wind Power  

It’s windy in Denmark, which helps explain why Denmark is so skilled at capturing the power of the wind. With 28% wind power in the electricity system, Denmark is a nation that many others are looking to in order to discover sustainable energy solutions for the future. link

August 2012: Wind provides over 25% of Denmark's power In 2011 Denmark met a massive 26% of its electricity demand with wind power, confirming its poll position as a beacon for wind energy as well as for its ability to integrate renewable electricity into the grid. Today the Nordic nation has a total installed capacity of 3,871 MW, with 857.3 MW of that offshore at 13 offshore wind farms. Not only is Denmark a pioneer for onshore wind energy, but it was also the country to build the world’s first offshore wind farm: Vindeby (5 MW) was grid connected in 1991. link

August 2012: It's estimated that some 50,000 wind turbines have been exported from Denmark, nearly 50% of the wind-powered generators worldwide. But sales are declining now that large industrialized nations, such as India, China and the US, are emulating the Danes' success. In addition to the graceful, towering turbines made of fiberglass and steel, however, Denmark has also given the world a shining example of sustainability: The parliamentary monarchy is widely seen as a laboratory and model for how an entire country can make the transition away from coal, oil and gas and toward energy generated from renewable resources. Today, already 24% of the electricity consumed in Denmark comes from wind power -- a world record. There are plans to increase this to 50% by 2020, and the country intends to become entirely independent of fossil fuels by 2050. Hailed as a "miracle of modern politics," Denmark consistently earns top marks for its efficient governance, innovation and transparency. Nowhere is this more apparent than with its successful embrace of wind power, making it a role model for the world. link  (Pictured:an offshore wind farm near Copenhagen.)

September 2013: Denmark's largest wind farm inaugurated.The Anholt offshore wind power plant was officially inaugurated today. For Denmark’s largest wind power project, Siemens supplied, installed, and commissioned 111 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 3.6MW and a rotor diameter of 120 meters.. The wind power plants’ total capacity of 400MW  will be sufficient to supply about 400,000 Danish households with clean electricity, or to cover about four percent of Denmark’s power demand. link

August 2010: Thirty kilometers off the west coast of Denmark. 91 turbines with a capacity of 209MW were deployed since September 2009 in the Horns Rev 2 wind farm. These supplement Horns Rev 1 established in 2002 with 80 turbines producing 160MW. Nine out of ten Danes cite wind power as the main priority for developing renewable energies. In 2010 sales of wind technology will represent more than 10% of Denmark's exports. link


Other news:

August 2012: Denmark hosts largest rooftop solar system in Northern Europe.  Renewable Energy Corporation (REC) has announced completion of the largest rooftop solar panel system in Northern Europe. The system sits atop the headquarters of insurance company Topdanmark in Ballerup, near Copenhagen in Denmark. The system features 3,042 REC Peak Energy Series solar panels and has an annual  production capacity of 752,000 kWh - enough to meet the needs of  almost 200 households. link

December 2010: Denmark boasts a 100% renewable energy community. The Lolland Hydrogen Community generates 50% more wind energy than needed, and converts the excess to produce hydrogen  Called the Lolland Hydrogen Community, the project began in the middle of 2007 as a way of taking the excess wind energy produced by the island community and putting it to use. The wind energy that was being produced in excess was used  to power an electrolyser that worked to separate the oxygen and hydrogen molecules that comprised water. Once the hydrogen is separated it is stored in pressure tanks and it is then used to power fuel cells that provide the community with electricity. Although powering the community’s power grid with the hydrogen fuel cells proved to be a success the Lolland Hydrogen Community knew they could take the renewable energy a step forward. To achieve this end, the researchers on the community developed smaller hydrogen fuel cells that could be placed in a home and act similar to a boiler in order to provide heating, air, and energy.  link

December 2009: Denmark's ambitious plan for electric cars  - Ahead of the Copenhagen Conference, Denmark sees itself as the test-bed for the electric car future. The country imposes a punitive tax of about 200% on new cars, so a vehicle that would cost $20,000 in the United States costs $60,000 here. For a quarter-century, electric cars have been exempt from that tax. But the models on the market were so limited in their capabilities that only 497 of them are registered in the entire country. link

Denmark to power electric cars by wind in vehicle-to-grid experiment.
The project on the holiday island of Bornholm will use the batteries of parked electric vehicles to store excess energy when the wind blows hard, and then feed electricity back into the grid when the weather is calm
.   read

Denmark's Wind of Change - Time magazine (February 2009)   read

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