Tag Archives: Denmark

Germany generated that much renewable energy, they actually paid people to use it!

17 May

What a time to be alive – on Sunday 8th May 2016, Germany produced an incredible amount of renewable energy. For a few hours, the European nation went full ‘green’. Its power grid had surplus, and for a few hours residents actually earned money from using electricity, rather than paying for it. We were just as shocked as you!

The weather was so sunny and windy that at about 1pm in the day, the wind, hydro, solar and biomass plants in Germany generated 87% (55GW) of the entire amount of power (63GW) being consumed in the country. It’s an astonishing achievement and one that unfortunately the industry just was not expecting.

In 2015, Germany’s renewable energy mix was at 33% but Germany managed to use the sun, wind and rain to provide 87 per cent of an entire country’s energy requirements which is an incredible achievement. Usually, renewables just top up the main supply. Gas plants were actually shut down due to the green surge, but nuclear and coal plants couldn’t suspend activity fast enough. It meant the grid was overrun with power.

So Germany’s target of becoming 100% renewable by 2050 (which Denmark is currently hitting) seems not as ambitious as once thought. Germany will of course need to keep some of its nuclear and coal plants running due to the unpredictability of its renewable energy sources as they are dependent on the weather. In July last year, Denmark’s wind power was generating 140% of its demand, meaning energy could be sent over to Germany, Norway and Sweden.

At the moment there is a north/south split in the country, as wind turbines are located mostly in the north of Germany and solar power plants in the south. The authorities are also wanting to phase out nuclear power by 2022. With the country making exciting gains towards its goal, experts believe Germany to be a good role model for other developed countries.

It has been argued that the grid needs to become more flexible in order for the transition to renewable energy to be successful. Presently, renewable energy plants generating a lot of energy on sunny and blustery days have to push it into the grid, resulting in inefficiency and these negative prices. But with developed grid management and power storage technology, sudden spikes could be handled better and utilised in a more effective way.

Denmark comes home with the bacon!

23 May

Denmark…the creators of Pandora (one of the world’s biggest jewellery brands), LEGO (Something for the children) and let’s not forget the creators of the famous Danish pastry. What does this have to do with energy efficiency you might ask?

Denmark have only gone and won the prestigious energy efficiency prize (Woohoo). Since 1980, the Danish economy has grown by 78%, while energy consumption has remained more or less constant, and CO2 emissions have been reduced.

Around 30% of Denmark’s electricity is generated via wind power. To encourage investment in wind power, families were offered a tax exemption for generating their own electricity within their own or an adjoining commune. While this could involve purchasing a turbine outright, more often families purchased shares in wind turbine cooperatives which in turn invested in community wind turbines. By 2004 over 150,000 Danes were either members of cooperatives or owned turbines.

Solar power also has a big part to play, as the country reached its year 2020 government goal of 200 MW solar cell capacities in 2012, and has 500 MW solar capacities in 90,000 private installations as of 2013.

A notable mention is also the countries two geothermal district heating plants, one in Thisted started in 1988, and one in Copenhagen started in 2005.

The ‘EE Visionary Award’ was accepted by Peter Taksøe-Jensen (Denmark’s ambassador to the US) at Washington DC. The award acknowledges the countries efforts at reducing energy consumption nationally and abroad.

The climate and energy minister, Rasmus Helveg Petersen, has said in a press release:

“I am excited to receive this award, which I believe confirms Denmark’s position among the world’s leaders at getting the most out of each kilowatt-hour,”

Denmark has taken energy efficiency work very seriously over the last decade and in 2011 the Danish government announced the “Energy Strategy 2050” with the aim to be fully independent of fossil fuels by 2050. When it comes to their wind power generation, the government targets 50% wind power in the electricity system by 2020.

Rasmus Helveg Petersen also went on to say;

“Over the years, Danish energy policy has required courage and investment, but it has in turn reaped major benefits, both environmentally and economically.”

Denmark weren’t the only prize winners, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lee Jong-Cheol also received awards for their efforts in reducing energy consumption at a regional and local level. The trophy is handed out in association with the annual energy conference Energy Efficiency Global Forum.

And the offshore wind award goes to…

15 Nov

2013 is set to be a record breaking year for offshore wind power as it is on track to hit a seventh consecutive annual record. The world total was increased by 20% in just the first six months of the year with developers adding 1,080 megawatts of generating capacity. At present fifteen countries host some 6,500 megawatts of offshore wind capacity set to exceed 7,100 megawatts before year end.

In UK waters more than 500 megawatts of new offshore wind power went live in the first six months of 2013, totalling the countries grand total to over 3,400 megawatts. The amount generated is enough to supply more than two million UK homes with power.

The London Array (Check out a previous blog called ‘London Array, the world’s largest offshore wind farm!’) is to thank for the bulk of this new offshore capacity after it completed its first phase. This year it overtook another of the UK’s offshore wind farms, the 500 megawatt ‘Greater Gabbard’ wind farm which was completed in 2012. In total, the good old blighty has some 12,000 megawatts of offshore wind capacity under construction or in earlier development stages.

The United Kingdom is currently top of the charts when it comes to offshore wind capacity, followed by Denmark. Now back in 1991, Denmark was the first country to put wind turbines in the sea as they installed a 5 megawatt project in the Baltic Sea. Since 2008, Denmark’s offshore wind capacity has more than trebled, reaching 1,200 megawatts by mid-2013. At present Denmark gets more than 30% of its electricity from wind (onshore and offshore). They anticipate increasing the share to 50% by 2020. Denmark has the world’s highest wind power capacity per square mile.

In third place we have Belgium who in the first half of 2013 increased their offshore wind capacity by 20%. This totals Belgium’s capacity to 450 megawatts.

China is placed in 4th position after it activated its first offshore wind farm in 2010 reaching an impressive 390 megawatts. China aims to bring 5,000 megawatts of wind capacity to Chinese waters by 2015, expanding to a huge 30,000 megawatts come 2020.

Germany takes 5th position due to their 380 megawatts of offshore wind capacity and the estimated 520 megawatts by year’s end. The German offshore industry anticipates another 1,000 megawatts will connect to the grid in both 2014 and 2015.

Offshore wind is currently gaining huge attention in Japan whose future of nuclear energy is questionable. Potentially by bringing wind power to Japan they would have a huge domestic, carbon free power source. Japan’s offshore wind capacity is currently at 41 megawatts due to a new 16 megawatt project installed in the first half of 2013.

Check out the world ranking figures below!

Earth policy institute – www.earth-policy.org

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