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Denmark blows past old wind record

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Renewables International

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2015 was another record year for wind power in Denmark, where turbines generated 42 percent of demand, topping the old record of 39 percent from the previous year. No other country has such a large share of wind power.

On Friday, Energinet reported the new record (press release). The grid agency is careful, however, to point out that the record is not possible without the country’s power trading options: “we can import or export electricity corresponding to up to approximately 80 percent of our maximum electricity consumption.” Last year, the country generated surplus wind power of six of the time – more than it could consume.

In contrast, Germany has yet to generate any renewable electricity in excess of demand, with the record being around 80 percent (for all renewable power, not just wind). Over at EnergyTransition.de, I recently wrote about Denmark’s somewhat unique power trading situation (along with Switzerland’s).


Thanks apparently to these power trading options, Energinet says “the number of hours with negative prices is unlikely to change significantly” in the future; last year, wholesale power prices dropped into the negative less than one percent of the time. However, there seems to be a debate over this issue in Denmark, with the head of utility lobby group Danish Energy saying that “if we keep putting up wind turbines… it would be an unstable system.”

The situation with negative prices is also a bit different in Germany, where the number of hours with negative prices is not much greater, but could rise significantly because Germany can only export and import around a quarter of its electricity at a time – not 80 percent like in Denmark.

September 2 was also unique; that entire day, no central station power plant was needed at all. The new record peak for wind power generation relative to demand also increased from 132 percent to 139 percent.

Our Bernard Chabot also recently produced an overview of the wind power sector in Denmark.

Source: Renewables International. Reproduced with permission.  

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  • Jens Stubbe

    Dig into the numbers and it becomes apparent that wind power produced 52% of domestic electricity production. The difference is because 2015 was a wet year where Norway and Sweden needs to export extra amount of hydropower electricity.

  • InsightWind

    Well done Jens. In addition, let’s add some context to the point made by Danish Energy about stable supply. It would indeed be irresponsible to continue to add wind were it not for the parallel investment Denmark is of course making to maintain its extremely high level of supply security. Furthermore, it is vital to make the distinction between technical feasibility and prudent economics. In a report published some years ago, energinet.dk demonstrated that it was perfectly possible to run Denmark as an electricity island even with an all renewables supply, mostly from wind. But why make life that difficult, argues the network operator, when the easiest and cheapest route to 100% renewables is to boost interconnection capacity to other systems, increasing their stability as well as that of Denmark’s system. This year should also see another sizable boost to the Danish wind percentage, now that the cable problems at the country’s two largest offshore wind farms have been fixed. For the first time they are set to generate for a whole year. Given fair winds, 45% is well in sight.

    • Jens Stubbe

      Actually when Krieger Flak and Hornsrev 3 goes into operation Denmark will permanently go above 50% wind power share.

      The current right wing minority government stopped offshore projects that was planned to come online with the same FIT as for onshore, which would close the current 50% price gap between onshore and offshore. (And mind you that Danish onshore wind is roughly half price of what you pay for wind power in Australia).

      Also they centralized authorization of tracking gas projects in frustration over that no local administration anywhere in the country was ready to accept fracking gas exploitation.

      England, Holland, Poland and UK are all building HVDC grid connections to Nordpool via Denmark because Nordpool is now the worlds largest electricity market and the cheapest with a clear downward trend.

      Sweden has build more wind capacity than Denmark and Germany is slowly coming around to be more supportive of renewables as well.

  • Ian

    Until the last fossil fuel plant is shut down and the last ICE vehicle is put in a museum, there is not enough wind, solar and hydro power. May Danish electricity like Danish pastries spread throughout Europe.