Denmark is connected by transmission line to other European countries and therefore it does not need to install additional peak-load plant to balance its wind power. Instead, it purchases additional power from its neighbours when necessary. With some strengthening of the grid, Denmark plans to increase wind's share even further.
A deal has been announced in 2008 between Project Better Place (Palo Alto, US) and Danish utility Dong Energy that will lead to mass production of electric vehicles and implementation of an extensive recharging and battery swap infrastructure. This will act as storage capacity for the country's wind power generation capability. "Two million electric cars in circulation ... would provide a standby capacity around five times the size of Denmark's needs ... with smart charging systems charging batteries when the power's plentiful, and even feeding power back into the grid when necessary.
|Installed wind capacity (MW)||2,489||2,892||3,117||3,125||3,129||3,136||3,125|
|Wind power share in the electricity supply (%)||12.1||13.8||15.8||18.5||18.5||16.8||19.7|
The role of wind turbine cooperatives is not limited to single turbines. The Middelgrunden offshore wind farm - with 20 turbines the world's largest offshore farm at the time it was built in 2000 - is 50% owned by the 10,000 investors in the Middelgrunden Wind Turbine Cooperative, and 50% by the municipal utility company.
By 2001 over 100,000 families belonged to wind turbine cooperatives, which had installed 86% of all the wind turbines in Denmark. By 2004 over 150,000 were either members or owned turbines, and about 5,500 turbines had been installed, although with greater private sector involvement the proportion owned by cooperatives had fallen to 75%. The cooperative model has also spread to Germany and the Netherlands.
The island of Samsø erected 11 one-megawatt, land-based wind turbines in 2000, followed by ten offshore 2.3MW wind turbines completed in 2003. Together with other renewable energy measures, this community of 4200 achieved fame as the largest carbon-neutral settlement on the planet.
The Danish wind turbine industry is the world's largest. Around 90 percent of the national output is exported, and Danish companies accounted for 38 of the world turbine market in 2003, when the industry employed some 20,000 people and had a turnover of around 3 billion euro.
The development of wind power in Denmark has been characterized by a close collaboration between publicly financed research and industry in key areas such as research and development, certification, testing, and the preparation of standards. For example, in the 1980s, a large number of small Danish companies were developing wind turbines to sell to California, and the Danish Risø laboratory provided test facilities and certification procedures. These resulted in reliable products and the rapid expansion of the Danish turbine manufacturing industry.
Professor Bent Ole Mortensen compared and contrasted the development of wind power in Denmark with that of the United States in a recent Symposium in Houston that focused on economic and environmental barriers to wind power.
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