After three years in decline, the Danish domestic market seems to be responding to a revival of positive public interest in wind energy development. A recently introduced subsidy programme for replacement of old turbines with new and increased sales abroad are expected to further stimulate public interest.

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After three years of continuous decline the wind market in Denmark has taken a turn for the better. Double the amount of capacity will be installed this year than in 1993, according to industry predictions. Last year just 29 MW went in the ground, compared with nearly 80 MW a year at the start of the decade.

"It doesn't look too bad," comments Vagn Trend Poulsen, chairman of the Danish Association of Windmill Manufacturers and director of Nordtank. "But it is still up to the politicians if the wind market is to really get going again." Some 14 MW was installed in the first six months of the year, compared with 11 MW for the same period in 1993.

There are several reasons for the Danish industry's simmering optimism. The next round of utility projects under the government's 100 MW agreement are almost ready to go in the ground. Elsam expects to install 30-35 MW in the west of the country over the next 18 months, while Elkraft's 12-year development plan for the eastern half of Denmark allows for annual installation of 10-30 MW. Utility development had been severely delayed because of siting problems, but it is now beginning to equal that of the private sector. In the second quarter of the year 14 wind turbines (5.8 MW) were bought by utilities, compared with 21 turbines (6.5 MW) by private customers. The increase in private sales also reflects returning public interest in wind development. The country is currently in a period of economic growth and turbine sales in the second quarter of the year compared with just 5 MW spread over 22 units in the same period last year. Several manufacturers believe the trend will continue and that the catastrophic start to the year, when only nine wind turbines (2.6 MW) were sold in Denmark, marked the bottom of the market's depression.

Another reason for optimism is a newsubsidy programme for replacement of old wind turbines. Orders for about 50 machines are expected over the next three years, some 20-30 MW a year. The programme (Windpower Monthly, March 1994) started June 1 and by September 19 the energy agency was dealing with 13 subsidy applications.

In the meantime, exports continue to thrive. In the first six months of the year nearly 105 MW left the country bound for destinations in 15 countries, compared with 62 MW for the same period last year. Just over 180 MW was exported in the whole of 1993. The major customers so far in 1994 have been Germany (46.6 MW), India (29 MW), Britain (14. 9 MW) and China (4.5 MW).

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