Government boosts offshore ambition

DENMARK: Offshore wind looks likely to receive a huge boost in Denmark under the newly elected government's target for half of the country's total electricity demand to be met by wind power by 2020.

This represents an eight percentage point increase on the previous administration's 42% target.

Denmark is already close to meeting its EU 2020 target of 31% electricity from renewables. Last year, a total installed wind-generating capacity of 3.8GW met 25% of the country's electricity demand, and this figure had risen to 26.3% for the past 12 months, according to the Danish Wind Industry Association.

The extra capacity needed to meet the country's 50% target is expected to come largely from offshore wind developments, due to land shortages and the decommissioning of onshore wind farms.

Ambitious goal

The association expects that 800MW in offshore wind capacity would need to be installed by 2020 to meet the new target, in addition to already planned new capacity.

To meet its 42% target, the previous government had wanted to build 600MW at the Kriegers Flak offshore wind farm, 400MW of new near-shore wind, 500MW onshore and 1.3GW to replace decommissioned wind farms.

The association's chief executive Jan Hylleberg said the new 50% target was "very ambitious" but realistic.

"Several reports point out that this is manageable but for us to succeed we need massive investments in new technology and new solutions in order to integrate these large amounts of wind energy into the energy system," said Hylleberg.

"(The target) will lead to a number of investments in wind power that we otherwise wouldn't have seen. I'm very confident this ambitious but very realistic target will drive the development of new technology in Denmark, ensuring that Denmark's position as a wind-power hub remains."

Key role

By announcing these ambitions and bringing forward offshore investments, Denmark will become the central player in the race to lower the cost of energy, he added.

The Danish centre-left coalition government, which took office on 3 October, has also set a 40% CO2 emissions reduction target for 2020 compared with 1990 levels, up from 30%.

It is aiming to phase out coal from electricity generation by 2030, and for all power and heat consumed in the country to come from renewable energy by 2035.

The new government is led by Denmark's first female prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, leader of the Social Democrat party.

The other two parties in the coalition are the Socialist People's Party and Social Liberals. The three ruling parties secured a narrow majority of 92 seats in the 179-member parliament, the Folketing, in September's election, ousting the incumbent centre-right coalition government.

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