In 1998, Norway commissioned a study of wind power in Denmark and concluded that it has "serious environmental effects, insufficient production, and high production costs."
Denmark (population 5.3 million) has over 6,000 turbines that produced electricity equal to 19% of what the country used in 2002. Yet no conventional power plant has been shut down. Because of the intermittency and variability of the wind, conventional power plants must be kept running at full capacity to meet the actual demand for electricity. Most cannot simply be turned on and off as the wind dies and rises, and the quick ramping up and down of those that can be would actually increase their output of pollution and carbon dioxide (the primary "greenhouse" gas). So when the wind is blowing just right for the turbines, the power they generate is usually a surplus and sold to other countries at an extremely discounted price, or the turbines are simply shut off.
Denmark is just dependent enough on wind power that
1. When the wind is not blowing right they must import electricity 2. Danish electricity costs for the consumer are the highest in Europe(June 2009)
"...If only the wind was as constant as the bloody-minded obduracy of those proponents of wind energy, who may be able to act as polemicists for their cause, but cannot - or rather, will not - engage with the facts. Your letters section on 25 September was more than usually replete with rational arguments pointing out the inadequacies of wind energy and other renewable energy sources, in providing dependable supplies of electricity in the large amounts required. This followed weeks of other similar letters presenting the facts of the situation. These facts, as the old Doric expression tells, "are chiels that winnae ding". Yet neither the Scottish Government, the RSPB, FOE, WWF nor Renewable Scotland has engaged with the desperate energy situation that Denmark finds herself in, after massive investment in wind power - an investment that has not secured dependable energy, has cost a fortune and has not reduced carbon emissions. Further, despite multiple references to it, none of the above has engaged with the information presented in the Neta website and the reality of what amount of energy is actually being derived from wind, hydro and pump storage. They are also silent about the minuscule part Scotland plays in the overall carbon emission "problem". This silence is as chilling as the silence on a 20 below zero windless day at a wind farm. I challenge them to end it."
Is wind power as green as it seems?Denmark is the world’s most wind-intensive state with more than 6,000 turbines generating 19% of its electricity. But this figure is misleading, says Tony Lodge of the Centre for Policy Studies. Not one conventional power plant has been closed in the period that Danish wind farms have been developed.
In fact, the Danish grid used 50% more coal-generated electricity in 2006 than in 2005 to cover wind’s failings. The quick ramping up and down of those plants has increased their pollution and carbon dioxide output – carbon emissions rose 36% in 2006.
Meanwhile Danish electricity costs are the highest in Europe. The Danish experience suggests wind energy is “expensive, inefficient and not even particularly green”, says Lodge.