In Denmark, the wind is strong and the people are smart. They must be, because Denmark just beat its own wind power generation record—again. According to a new report issued last week, wind power now makes up 42.1 percent of total electricity consumption in the country, which is the highest share anywhere in the world. Energinet, the agency responsible for Denmark’s power grids, released the final figures for 2015 after tallying up all of the wind hours for the year. Experts say the increase over the previous year’s energy generation means Denmark is on target to reach its future goals for renewable energy.
This time last year, Denmark celebrated the world record achievement of generating 39.1 percent of the nation’s electricity from wind power in 2014. This means that, for two years running, Denmark has generated more electricity from wind power than any other country on Earth. Wind power also makes up a larger share of electricity sources there than in other nations. Essentially, Denmark is blazing the trail for other European countries to push forward with renewable energy projects.
“It’s not unusual that we have hours where the wind production is greater than the actual consumption. But in the western part of the country, it has sometimes been 16 percent more, and that illustrates that with a volatile electricity production, we are able to import and export across our borders,” Energinet’s Carsten Vittrup said in a statement. Indeed, wind power generation has been known to peak as high as 140 percent of the country’s electricity needs on particularly windy days.
Danish parliament aims to get at least half of the country’s electricity from wind by 2020, and that seems easily achievable given the current upward trend. A corresponding goal is to rely on renewable energy for 90 percent of the electricity and heating throughout the nation, which also seems likely. Currently, Denmark is exporting some of its wind power to Norway, Sweden, and Germany, while buying hydropower from Norway and solar power from Germany. Mixing energy sources is important to ensure a consistent supply to the power grid, regardless of weather conditions, so coal and biomass power plants are still being used as a safety net. However, it’s logical to expect a decline in those sources as renewable methods continue to take over.
Images via CGP Grey