Highs at home and lows abroad

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A record 600 MW of wind turbines was installed in Denmark last year, breezing past last year's high of 387 MW. This brought the country's total to about 2300 MW with 6400 turbines, according to utilities Eltra and Elkraft and the industry organisation, Vindmølleindustrien. Wind power plant provided 13% of the Danish electricity demand for the year and are expected to provide 16% this year.

Not a single turbine was bought last year. The installations were all based on orders in 1999 in a rush to qualify for Denmark's long standing fixed wind tariff, before it is replaced by a market based support system, part of the country's electricity market reform (Windpower Monthly, October 2000). Turbines bought before January 1, 2000, are eligible to continue receiving the tariff of DKK 0.60/kWh for a specified number of full load hours. Turbines bought after that date will receive at least DKK 0.33/kWh for ten years plus income from sale of green certificates from 2002. Legislators are still working on the new market structure and the resulting uncertainty has halted new orders.

The high rate of installations at home held up an otherwise lacklustre year, where 12 years of growth in exports of Danish wind turbines and wind power technology came to an end. The latest statistics from Denmark's BTM Consult, known for its annual market projections, reveal that Danish industry's total turnover in 2000 was DKK 12.2 billion, with DKK 9.2 billion of this accounted for by exports, less than the DKK 10.5 million worth of exports in 1999. Total turnover in 1999 was DKK 12.5 billion.

Fall in exports

The fall in exports is blamed on the German market, where growth was mainly to the advantage of the German industry, as well as the downturn in the roller-coaster fortunes of the American market.

The home front is looking optimistic for the coming year. Already in western Denmark 190 MW is on the way, and 125 MW are going up in the east. Offshore, the new Middelgrunden 40 MW project will soon be followed by more development at sea as the utility Elsam begins building the first of five 150 MW offshore demonstration projects ordered by the government.

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