Through clever planning, Denmark produces enough electricity to meet its domestic needs, as well as to export its excess energy to neighbouring countries. The Guardian reported that on over the course of just one day – July 9, 2015 – Denmark produced 116% of its national electricity demands through wind power.
As another plus, it was able to export the excess electricity to Norway, Germany and Sweden. Once domestic consumption had reduced during the early hours of the morning, Denmark’s wind power was producing 140% of its national electricity demands.
While this was an unusually windy day in Denmark, it demonstrates that a country powered by renewable energy is a possibility. According to the Danish Energy Agency, Denmark produces renewable energy through solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass and biogas. Denmark’s official website, Denmark.dk reports that wind power contributes 28% of the country’s electricity on average, and that this figure is expected to grow.
Denmark has long had a strong proactive focus on renewable energy in recent years, supported by both the country’s voters and its politicians. The Guardian also reports that Denmark has a strong new builds program with new onshore and offshore wind farms planned that will more than double the country’s current renewable energy capacity. Denmark aims to satisfy 70% of its energy requirements with renewables by the year 2020. By 2050, Denmark plans to meet 100% of its energy needs with renewable energy.
To assist public support and acceptance of onshore wind farms, the government introduced requirements on wind farm operators in 2008. These requirements included compensation from the wind farm operators to home owners if the value of their house decreases after a wind turbine is erected nearby. The community also receives an allocation of electricity directly from the local wind farms and at least 20% of the project’s shares are required to be offered to local residents, giving them the possibility to be financially invested in the project.
The Danes have also chosen to give subsidies to companies that use renewable energy and increase their energy efficiency. This policy is different from other countries that employ surcharges and aims to encourage energy efficiency creativity and monetary savings.
Momentum Energy is part of the Hydro Tasmania group, Australia’s largest generator of renewable energy. We believe in a more sustainable future for Australia and are pleased to see how this can work in practice.