Denmark has so much renewable energy that we have to give some away

Date: 16 June 2015

60 percent Denmark’s power is renewable energy. The cars use some 30 to 40 percent lower fuel consumption, and our total CO2 emissions have fallen by over 25 percent since 1990. But there is also a downside, according to Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten.

Denmark holds the record and according to official EU statistics, only Sweden is around the 50 percent renewable energy or above. The reason is primarily that the Danish wind turbines are spinning like never before. In 2014, they produced what corresponds to 43 percent of all electricity used in Denmark. Actually the Danish wind turbines produces so much power that we cannot use it all, so some of it is sent out of the country.

The downside of the success is the fact that we export around 20 percent of the wind power because the wind turbines sometimes twirls at times when we cannot use the power. Therefore, the price is also very low. And since most wind turbine owners are guaranteed a minimum price for their power, it is a very poor business.

According to district heating think tank Green Energy, Denmark has for the first five months of 2015 exported almost 20 percent of wind power, which has provided an export revenue of about 250 million DKK. If instead it had been allowed for the district heating plants to use the power in large heat pumps, which they are not allowed today, it would have meant a profit of 2 billion DKK.

Managing director Kim Mortensen from the Danish District Heating Association believes that the sale of wind power at giveaway price is foolish. “It’s crazy that we have an export of green wind power at giveaway prices, while the district heating plants are forced to use fuels such as gas and biomass. It is neither economically, climatically or user economically a good idea”, says Kim Mortensen.

The big problem is, according to the district heating plants, the different charges, especially the so-called PSO levy to finance green energy. The district heating companies have to pay this, while exported wind power is exempt.