The country of Denmark generated enough wind energy on Wednesday to power the entire country’s electricity needs, according to new figures from Europe’s wind energy trade body, WindEurope.
According to WindEurope, Denmark generated a total of 70 gigawatt-hours (GWh) from onshore wind and another 27 GWh from offshore wind — enough to power the equivalent of 10 million average EU households.
This is not the first time wind power has dominated generation statistics in Denmark, with several big wind energy days back throughout 2015. By the end of 2015, the country had a total of just over 5 gigawatts (GW) worth of wind energy installed — made up of 3799 megawatts (MW) of onshore wind and 1271 MW of offshore wind — a number which likely would have increased during 2016.
However, 2016 was something of a slower year for the country’s wind energy industry, with low wind speeds throughout the year, meaning Danish wind turbines only generated approximately 37.6% of Denmark’s total electricity consumption.
“Since 2008 we have experienced continuous growth in the wind energy production and each year set a new world record,” said Jan Hylleberg, CEO of the Danish Wind Industry Association. “As expected this trend did not continue in 2016 due to the low winds. Not maintaining the continued growth is to a certain degree frustrating, but on the other hand, it is a reminder that it is the shifting nature of the wind, which we are world champions at harnessing in Denmark. Besides, a wind share of 37.6% is more than approved, and I am pleased that varying production is not affecting our world-class security of supply that we have in Denmark.”
While 2016 might have been a slower year, 2017 started off with a bang thanks to MHI Vestas Offshore testing its new 9 MW wind turbine which, in testing at the company’s Østerild wind turbine test field off the coast of Denmark, broke the energy generation record for a 24 hour period.
Wind power is the use of air flow through wind turbines to mechanically power generators for electric power. Wind power, as an alternative to burning fossil fuels, is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation, consumes no water, and uses little land. The net effects on the environment are far less problematic than those of nonrenewable power sources.
Wind farms consist of many individual wind turbines which are connected to the electric power transmission network. Onshore wind is an inexpensive source of electric power, competitive with or in many places cheaper than coal or gas plants. Offshore wind is steadier and stronger than on land, and offshore farms have less visual impact, but construction and maintenance costs are considerably higher. Small onshore wind farms can feed some energy into the grid or provide electric power to isolated off-grid locations.
Wind power gives variable power which is very consistent from year to year but which has significant variation over shorter time scales. It is therefore used in conjunction with other electric power sources to give a reliable supply. As the proportion of wind power in a region increases, a need to upgrade the grid, and a lowered ability to supplant conventional production can occur. Power management techniques such as having excess capacity, geographically distributed turbines, dispatchable backing sources, sufficient hydroelectric power, exporting and importing power to neighboring areas, using vehicle-to-grid strategies or reducing demand when wind production is low, can in many cases overcome these problems. In addition, weather forecasting permits the electric power network to be readied for the predictable variations in production that occur.
As of 2015, Denmark generates 40% of its electric power from wind, and at least 83 other countries around the world are using wind power to supply their electric power grids. In 2014 global wind power capacity expanded 16% to 369,553 MW. Yearly wind energy production is also growing rapidly and has reached around 4% of worldwide electric power usage, 11.4% in the EU.
Local authorities approved the largest offshore wind farm in the United States
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(Joshua S Hill contributed for this article. I’m a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we’re pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites.)