The Danish Wind Industry Association (DWIA) has defined a target that, by 2020, wind power should account for 50% of our electricity consumption. This target will drive developments in the wind turbines industry – throughout the supply chain – so that Denmark, also going forward, will set high technological standards in terms of developing wind farm technology and the energy system of the future.
30 years of experience
The strong Danish capabilities date back from the time when Denmark pioneered the industry. Denmark has more than 30 years’ experience in developing and installing innovative and energy-efficient wind turbines onshore and 20 years’ experience offshore. Over the years, the industry has grown big and strong, becoming a positive contributor to the general Danish economy.
The wind industry currently employs more than 25,000 people, and wind energy technology accounts for 8.5% of Denmark’s total exports. The future also looks quite bright, and Denmark expects to see a massive expansion of wind power, especially in the wind farm markets near Denmark such as Germany, the UK and the Netherlands.
In 1991, the first ever offshore wind farm was installed in Vindeby, Denmark. Vindeby was followed by a series of offshore wind farms – small by today’s standard – but were nevertheless ground-breaking at the time.
In 1997, the Danish Energy Agency published its Offshore Wind Turbine Action Plan. The action plan was updated in 2007 to reassess selected sites. It describes high wind areas where up to 4,600 MW can be constructed, more than enough to supply Denmark’s entire domestic electricity consumption.
As European electricity markets are gradually liberalised and become better interconnected, it will become increasingly attractive to harvest the offshore wind resource in Danish waters to supply electricity consumers elsewhere in Europe and to substitute fossil fuels used for transport and heating purposes.
The world’s largest offshore farms at the time, Horns Rev I (160 MW) and Nysted I wind farm (165 MW) were established in 2002 and 2003 respectively. The slightly bigger Horns Rev II (200 MW) and Nysted II (200 MW) were brought online in 2009 and 2010. In 2014, when Anholt wind farm (400 MW) comes online 15% of the Danish electricity supply will be based on offshore wind.
The next large offshore wind farm expected in tender will be the ground-breaking Krieger’s Flak project, which will be the world’s first offshore wind farm with the grid connection replaced by a transmission line between two countries (Denmark and Germany). This project will showcase grid solutions needed to enable energy consumers in the several countries surrounding the North Sea to tap into the vast energy resources of offshore wind.
Cost-cutting national R&D strategy
In 2010, the Danish Megavind technology platform presented a new vision and strategy for offshore wind energy. The aim is to drive down the cost of energy from offshore wind farms, and for offshore wind power to become fully competitive with newly built coal-fired power by 2020.
Three main achievements are needed between 2010 and 2020. Firstly, newly built offshore wind farms must be able to produce roughly 25% more electricity per installed MW.
Secondly, the costs per installed MW must be reduced by approximately 40%. And thirdly, the cost of operation and maintenance per installed MW must be reduced by about 50%.
Cost reductions at this scale are also considered necessary to maintain public and political support for large-scale implementation of offshore wind in Europe and globally. Ultimately, delivering the solutions will maintain the competitive edge of the Danish players in this market.