Denmark broke the world record for wind power last year.
According to official data, 42% of Denmark’s electricity was generated from wind turbines in 2015, which represents the highest figure ever and the highest proportion for any country.
It also beat the country’s own record of 39% – set just a year before.
The figure also represents more than a doubling compared to data from 10 years ago.
The Danish government has committed to generating 50% of its energy from wind by 2020 and plans to be 100% fossil free by 2050.
According to Energinet, Denmark’s largest energy utility, 2015 was unusually windy, which was one of the main contributors for the record.
Furthermore, the high number of wind turbines, on- and offshore, has been a key ingredient in Denmark’s efforts to meet climate targets.
The Scandinavian country already has more than 1 200 megawatts of generating capacity installed offshore, and two other major projects currently under construction are estimated to add another 1 000 megawatts.
On one day, 2 September, Denmark operated without any central power stations being switched on at all, using electricity exclusively from wind turbines, solar cells, local combined heat and power plants and imports of hydroelectric, solar and nuclear power from neighbouring countries.
On another windy day in July, Denmark produced so much energy that it was able to meet all its electricity needs and sell another 40% of its power abroad.
In western Denmark, the region generated an energy surplus for 16% of the year, which was mostly exported to consumers in Norway, Sweden and Germany.
The country’s minister for energy, utilities and climate, Lars Christian Lilleholt, called the record significant and said:
Hopefully, Denmark can serve as an example to other countries that it is possible to have both ambitious green policies with a high proportion of wind energy and other renewables in the energy supply, and still have a high security of supply and competitive prices on electricity.
The current trend shows that the Danish government is likely to meet its goal of producing 50% of its electricity from wind by 2020, despite announcing plans to scale back its ambitious climate targets last summer.
The European Wind Energy Association (Ewea) reacted to the new figures by calling for a renewed focus on how large amounts of electricity could be integrated into Europe’s power systems.
Kristian Ruby, Ewea’s chief policy officer, said:
These figures show that we are now at a level where wind integration can be the backbone of electricity systems in advanced economies.
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