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Published: 03 October 2005 03 October 2005

Denmark: The Wind Power Hub of the World

ImageThe future is for renewables and innovative energy solutions. Even the CEO of Chevron now recognises it publicly in large ads in the Financial Times. Wind is showing the route away from the fossil fuel trap, and is fast becoming a major power player in today’s energy markets. Offshore wind is a central part of this future. The reward for going offshore is a greater and more constant wind resource and the potential for constructing wind power plants in sizes and with characteristics comparable to conventional power plants.
By Bjarne Lundager Jensen, Managing Director, Danish Wind Industry Association

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Danish companies form the centre of a global knowledge and competence network when it comes to construction and installation of wind power plants at sea. The Danish expertise makes Copenhagen an obvious location for an international offshore wind event. The vision is to make Denmark the Wind Power Hub, just as Silicon Valley is the centre of IT and Houston the centre of offshore oil and gas.

We need to unite the international wind and offshore sectors by creating new synergies and expanding the innovative drive towards cost-efficient offshore wind power plants. We are still at a level where constructing wind power plants at sea can be compared to sending missions to the Moon, and therefore offshore wind power is still comparatively more expensive than onshore wind. Technologically the weather window for erecting offshore wind power plants is slim, and once up the machines are virtually out of reach and must operate under extreme climatic forces for two decades into the future.

While the technological challenge is great, our engineers will find appropriate solutions. At present, limited experience from only a handful of successful offshore wind farms projects  prevents offshore wind from reducing its costs.  Given more routine, experience and volume in the market, the industry will begin delivering a downward curve of cost reductions similar to the achievements for onshore wind.

However, authorities must play their part to lower consumer costs. The most important actions include designing market frameworks that better accommodate wind power, streamlining planning procedures to make it simpler for project developers to meet environmental and other requirements, and making sure connection and operational requirements for offshore wind in the grid are fair and adequate.

All of these issues are highlighted in the Copenhagen Offshore Wind Conference, and in the parallel government policy seminar. If you want a voice in the debate join us from 26–28 October.
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