Due to an unusually windy day on Thursday July 9, Danish wind farms generated more than enough power to meet its national electricity demands – with plenty to spare for Germany, Norway and Sweden too. Denmark found itself producing 116% of its electricity needs during the day and a whopping 140% after nightfall.
The maybe most remarkable with the record notation is the fact that the wind turbines weren't even running at full 4.8GW capacity. Granted the record of notation of 140% was observed when winds where unusually high and demand was surprisingly low. That said, this wasn't a momentary incident, already during the day more electricity than the country needed was supplied for a significant number of hours.
Via interconnectors between the countries’ electricity grids 80% of the power surplus was shared equally between Germany and Norway, who were able to store the power by pumping water into their hydropower stations to generate electricity later when demand increases. Sweden in turn took the remaining 20% of excess power.
"The record shows that a world powered 100 per cent by renewable energy is much closer than you would think."
Kristian Ruby, Head of Political Affairs, the European branch organisation for wind power (Ewea)
39% of Denmark’s electricity demand covered by wind in 2014
Denmark is definitely in the forefront when it comes to renewable energy and finding solutions to battle climate change. Wind power is Denmark’s baby; the country was a pioneer in developing commercial wind power during the 1970s. In 2004, wind turbines provided 18.8% of Denmark’s electricity consumption. Ten years later, in 2014, the figure is 39.1%. In addition, Denmark is home to among other two of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers; Vestas and Siemens Wind Power and, to date, Danish companies have installed more than 90 per cent of the world’s offshore wind turbines.
50% wind power by 2020
According to Energinet.dk, who is responsible for supplying Denmark with electricity and gas, the government’s goal is to increase the wind share of the country’s electricity consumption to 50% by 2020.The consensus among government representatives and industry experts is that this will not be a difficult task.
"We reckon that we will be able to reach 50 per cent, and probably also higher than that. Of course we don’t know, if 2020 will be a good wind-year, but if it becomes a normal wind-year, we reckon that we will reach a 55 per cent wind share."
Carsten Vittrup, Strategic Energy Advisor, Energinet.dk
"We will definitely reach the 2020 targets. We have set a one-of-a-kind world record (in 2014) and it demonstrates that we can reach our actual goal, namely to stop global warming. I think this gives us opportunities to rid ourselves of coal and increase the rate of the green transition."
Rasmus Helveg Petersen, Danish Minister for Climate, Energy and Building
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