Denmark

Denmark

Industry exports production and jobs -- Slow repowering in Denmark

The Danish wind power market is well on its way to being exported to other European countries, primarily neighbouring Germany. While turbine sales in Denmark are moribund, thanks to Europe's lowest purchase prices for wind produced electricity from new projects, millions of dollars of machines are being erected overseas, installed by Danish customers or owned by Danish companies. Meantime, both Danish turbine manufacturers and their component suppliers are moving production and new jobs out of the country.

The Danish wind power market is well on its way to being exported to other European countries, primarily neighbouring Germany. While turbine sales in Denmark are moribund, thanks to Europe's lowest purchase prices for wind produced electricity from new projects, millions of dollars of machines are being erected overseas, installed by Danish customers or owned by Danish companies. Meantime, both Danish wind turbine manufacturers and their component suppliers -- with Siemens as one notable exception -- are moving production and new jobs out of the country.

As in 2004, few wind turbines were installed in Denmark in 2005. A total of 129 machines with a combined capacity of 18.2 MW were decommissioned, replaced by 18 new turbines with a combined capacity of 22.2 MW to bring the national total to 3128 MW.

Incentives

The repowering and net increase of 4 MW are primarily the result of an earlier incentive program to encourage owners to take down old units of up to 150 kW rated capacity and reinvest in state of the art technology. According to Per Nielsen of market observer EMD Data, just two turbines, a 1.75 MW unit and a 3.5 MW unit were erected under the current repowering program for turbines with rated capacities of up to 450 kW.

Of the 350 MW of existing capacity eligible for repowering incentives, owners of just 21 MW have been granted the subsidy, introduced in January 2005. How many of those "scrapped turbine certificates" will result in new wind power capacity remains to be seen. Nielsen estimates that 30-40 MW will be installed this year under the five year program, with the remaining 300 MW coming in the three years before it ends in 2009.

Not all are happy about the incentives. The Danish association of wind turbine owners complains that people are being rewarded for taking down turbines that could run for many years yet and are not a nuisance to neighbours or others. Over the past five years, 1600 older wind turbines have been dismantled in Denmark, leaving 5293 in operation. Of those, 800 are up for replacement by 200-300 larger turbines under the current repowering program. A scrap certificate guarantees a higher power purchase price for a limited period of operation.

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