In 2010, Denmark had wind power capacity of 3.8GW, generating 25% of the country’s electricity, not far off the 2020 target. However, over the next ten years, decommissioning of older wind turbines will take the country’s onshore capacity further from its targets. Hence the estimation that Denmark must add 750MW onshore and 1.15GW offshore during the next ten years. This should be relatively simple, considering Denmark has added nearly 700MW capacity since 2005, including Horns Rev II (209MW) in 2009 and Rødsand II (207MW) in 2010. The massive 400MW Djursland Anholt offshore park is expected to come online within two years.
In the long term, the Danes say they are aiming for a fossil fuel-free country, with 100% of energy from renewable sources. Whether they can achieve this ambitious goal remains to be seen but controversial measures such as the fossil fuel tax, which was recently recommended by the Danish Commission on Climate Change, might help bring success.
The Danish action plan forecasts a decrease in installed onshore capacity from over 2.9GW to around 2.6GW in 2020. Offshore capacity is expected to increase from 850MW in 2010 to 1.34GW in 2020. Overall capacity increases are forecast up to 2013 but besides a few smaller additions in 2016 and 2017, more decommissioning than adding new capacity seems likely. According to the European Wind Energy Association, the Danish action plan does not fully exploit the country’s repowering opportunities onshore and downplays offshore potential.
The biggest question mark in Denmark now lies over the country’s new energy policy, which is up for renewal in 2011. A three-year policy stipulating exactly how much wind power energy Denmark will need in the next ten to 20 years and clarifying the country’s focus on renewable energy would give investors and developers a clearer picture of what they can expect.
According to Rune Birk Nielsen at the Danish wind industry association, Vindmølleindustrien, current market conditions are adequate to help the sector meet its 2020 targets. "The biggest barrier to achieve the target is the long-term planning," Nielsen says. "Are the municipalities ready to handle the local planning? They have done a pretty good job in the last couple of years, but they still have a big task ahead."