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Offshore galore: The global wind industry returned to Denmark

Last week, Copenhagen hosted Wind Europe's annual conference by bringing together companies and professionals across the global wind energy value chain. As part of the event, State of Green hosted a US delegation and launched a digital visualization of the full Danish energy wind value chain.

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Securing a stable and green energy supply

A paradigm shift is taking place on a global scale. We are witnessing a historic conversion of energy systems that are based on fossil fuels to ones powered by clean energy. Technological developments, growing political will and price decreases mean that the number of clean energy options are expanding.

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White paper: Wind energy - driving the global market

Download our white paper "Wind energy - driving the global market" and discover how wind is pushing the ambitions for a renewable energy transition.

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Wind energy, driving the global market white paper

Offshore galore: The global wind industry returned to Denmark

Securing a stable and green energy supply

White paper: Wind energy - driving the global market

Denmark has made great strides in wind energy, utilizing the power of the wind to generate clean, renewable electricity for millions of people. Despite being a geographically small country, Denmark has invested heavily in both onshore and offshore wind, making the country a leading player in the global wind energy industry.

With approximately 4.800 turbines accumulating 7.1 GW across land and sea, more than half of the Danish electricity consumption is covered by the wind blowing over the country’s sea and land.

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With the full value chain represented, Denmark is home to thousands of innovative wind solutions.

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Denmark: A pioneer in offshore wind energy

Denmark is by many considered the birthplace of offshore wind energy. In 1991, Denmark made history as the first country in the world to install a commercial offshore wind park. 11 wind turbines with a combined capacity of 5 MW were installed in the shallow waters off the coast of Vindeby in the southeast of Denmark.

Though modest in size, it was the beginning of a giant leap in wind energy on a global scale. Since the early 1990s, Denmark has continued to lead the way in the development and implementation of offshore wind technology, with a number of large-scale wind farms installed in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. Wind turbines have become highly efficient and cost-effective, with the newest offshore models reaching up to 15 MW in size.

Denmark has 8,750 kilometers of coastline and is surrounded by shallow waters, which is ideal when harvesting the wind resource. Up till now, Denmark has installed 2.3 GW offshore wind, and is looking into a built-out of up to 14 GW before 2030.

One of the key factors in driving Denmark’s success in offshore wind has been a strong focus on technology development and investing in research, demonstration, and test facilities and today, Denmark is home to some of the world’s largest and most innovative offshore wind farms such as Kriegers Flak, which is the first offshore wind farm to have grid connection to two countries.

The strong Danish offshore wind ambitions also entail plans to construct the world’s firs energy island, exploiting the immense wind energy resources in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. The plans envisage the establishment of an artificial island in the North Sea that will serve as a hub for offshore wind farms supplying 3-4 GW of energy, with a long-term expansion potential of 10 GW.

The island of Bornholm will serve as the energy hub in the Baltic Sea with electrotechnical infrastructure and the possibility of green hydrogen production connected to 3 GW offshore wind farms planned off the coast of the island. Both energy islands will have grid connections to neighboring countries and are thus part of a hub-and-spoke grid that enables electricity to flow across borders and supply clean energy to the regions surround both seas.

Denmark has a strong commitment to renewable energy and environmental sustainability. The country has set ambitious targets for reducing its carbon emissions, and offshore wind has played a major role in helping it achieve these goals.

Harnessing the power of nature

Denmark’s total capacity of onshore wind equals 4,593 MW, while the national offshore wind equals 2,306 MW.

Wind turbines in Denmark test

Onshore wind: The past, present, and future of wind energy in Denmark

Onshore wind turbines have been used in Denmark for over a century, initially for agriculture and later for electricity. The Danish physicist Poul la Cour experimented with wind energy already back in the late 1800’s, but the 1970’s oil crisis truly reignited interest and kickstarted the growth in commercial wind energy in Denmark. By the early 1980’s, around 20 wind turbine manufacturers were active in Denmark, starting with wind turbines in kilowatt-sizes, but technology development has led to modern onshore wind turbines in the size of up to 7 GW.

Today, Denmark is a world leader in wind energy, with the industry employing around 33,000 people. More than 4,100 wind turbines rotate in the wind that sweeps through the fields of rural Denmark, making it a proud hallmark of the green transition and a Danish stronghold that dates back more than four decades.

As Denmark invests heavily in electrification, wind energy will play an even more critical role in the county’s future. To reach the country’s ambitious climate targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the installation of wind energy in both onshore and offshore hubs will play a big part.

And going green makes sense from a financial perspective too. Through years of working with standardization of production and processes, technology development design optimization and cross-industrial collaboration, the wind industry has succeeded in driving down the cost of wind energy. As a result, both onshore and offshore wind energy are now the cheapest sources of energy in Denmark, outperforming any fossil fuel.

Embracing the winds of change

Since Denmark first embarked on its journey to invest in harnessing the power of wind a lot has happened. By 2030, Denmark anticipates reaching a 60 per cent wind power share.

Explore the Danish wind value chain

From R&D, installation and grid management to sustainable supply chains, Denmark covers the full spectrum of the wind industry. Discover cross-sectoral solutions across the entire Danish wind value chain in the digital visualisation below.

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