In good news for wind, a general election in Denmark on March 11 returned the Social Democratic coalition government to power along with environment and energy minister Svend Auken. The result was close, however, with the Conservative coalition group losing by just one parliamentary mandate. Auken is a keen supporter of wind power and the driving force behind Denmark's plans to develop 4000 MW of offshore wind plant at five sites by 2030. Had the Conservatives won the election, Denmark's C02 tax on electricity would have been in serious danger. A refund of the tax makes up a substantial part of the Danish wind power tariff and there were fears that the private market for wind turbines would have been hard hit. More wind power was installed in Denmark last year than in any previous year. Of the 286 MW erected, 266 MW was developed by the private sector and the remainder by utilities. The Danish wind market is structured to encourage development throughout the country -- and not just in the windy coastal regions. The only two areas without new wind turbines in 1997 were the capital city of Copenhagen and the far flung island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea. Domestic sales made up the single largest market for the Danish industry in 1997, with Germany the second largest where nearly 260 MW was sold, followed by Spain (133 MW) and China (74 MW).
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