The most advanced project is a 20 turbine, 40 MW plant on the "Middelgrunden" sand bank near Copenhagen in Øresund, the sound between Denmark and Sweden. The developers of the DKK 352 million project are Middelgrundens Vindmøllelaug (MV), a wind power co-operative, and a local utility, Københavns Belysningsvæsen. If the project goes ahead, the wind turbines are expected to produce clean energy for 37,000 homes in Copenhagen, says Jens Larsen of MV.
Prior to the energy agency's approval, MV had secured half of the nearly 37,000 co-operative investment shares needed for the project. Danish Ringkøbing Bank-active in the Danish wind sector over many years-has offered loans to co-operative investors in Middelgrunden, up to a ceiling of DKK 50 million. "The wind branch had begun to take it for granted that the co-operative ownership model is no longer feasible," says Larsen, referring to Denmark's new power market reform. "With Middelgrunden, we can prove this is not true."
The other five offshore plants, each 150 MW in capacity, are demonstration projects being developed by a number of Danish power utilities (Windpower Monthly, December 1997). Elsam/Eltra is developing two sites, located at Horns Rev off the Jutland west coast and in the waters south of the island of Læsø in the Kattegat Sea. SEAS, a power distributor, is the lead developer for three sites south of Zealand: one near the island of Omø, one at Rødsand and the third at Gedser Rev south of Falster. Three utilities are involved in these projects.
If all five wind plant are built, the 750 MW will generate about 8% of today's electricity needs in Denmark-nearly equalling the output of the 5000 land based turbines in the country today, according to Naturlig Energi, the magazine of the Danish wind turbine owners association. The Danish government aims to have 5500 MW of wind capacity installed by 2030, with 4000 MW of this offshore, in order to cover 50% of Danish power needs.