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Denmark

Denmark

Renewable island a wild claim

Regarding a wind wire that says, "Denmark is to get a renewable energy island that will be 100% self sufficiently powered with renewables" (Windpower Monthly, January 1998). Some increase in the existing 12-15% of demand that renewables cover is probably possible, but how can 100% be reached? Windpower Monthly's editor responds.

You report that "Denmark is to get a renewable energy island that will be 100% self sufficiently powered with renewables before the next decade" (Denmark wind wire, January 1998). How can this be possible? Some increase in the existing 12-15% of demand that renewables cover is probably possible, perhaps to 25%, or even 30%. But how can 100% be reached?

This target might be possible on islands such as the Falklands, close to the "roaring forties," but not in Europe away from the main seas. Fair Isle, between the Orkney and Shetland Islands, does very well, but even it requires a standby diesel generator -- and loads are arranged in order of priority, with water and space heating cut off when the wind turbine output drops. The mean wind speed on Fair Isle must be much greater that on Samsø. Since your article states that Samsø "is off the sheltered east coast of Jutland," there must be times on this island when the wind is insufficient for any power generation and the sea is calm; this may be for 20% of the time, perhaps for a greater proportion. What will the islanders do? It is unlikely that biomass can completely fill the gap. Energy storage on the required scale will be impracticable.

It does not do the wind energy industry any good to make wild claims that do not stand up. A sense of realism is required. The industry must concentrate on what is practical; there is still plenty that it can and will achieve.

The renewable energy island is a project being carried out by the Danish government, which apparently does not feel it is making any wild claims. It is true that Danish winds allow for the production of electricity for only 81-82% of the time. But on Samsø, wind, solar and biomass plant will be used in combination to supply the island with electricity, heat, and fuel for transport, meeting the entire needs of the population for energy.-----Ed.

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