Does Denmark have the reliable "renewable" electricity that eludes "Green" South Australia?
Someone below is not telling the whole story. Unmentioned is the Skagerrak interconnector between Denmark and Norway -- which enables Denmark to import Nowegian hydro-power when the wind isn't blowing. There are also interconnecters to Sweden and Germany that import coal and nuclear power when the wind isn't blowing. And sometimes the wind is so still that it provides virtually no power to Denmark.
And the statement that on "Samso, an island in Denmark, renewables provide 100 per cent of the electricity" is misleading. On Samso, electricity is generated using a mix of wind, solar and straw-fired power plants. If straw-fired power plants are renewable so are coal-fired plants. There is no likelihood of running out of either straw or coal.
Also unmentioned is the cost factor, but it is known that Denmark has paid heavily for its wind plants and some 2010 figures suggest that Denmark's wind industry is almost completely dependent on taxpayer subsidies, and Danes pay the highest electricity rates of any industrialised nation.
Further, when the wind does decide to blow, Denmark sends fully half of its very expensive, taxpayer-subsidized wind power to its neighbors at cut rates, in return for said neighbors dialing up or down its hydro power or nukes at other times (which, most of the time, means "up").
As ever, it's a very different story when you know the facts that the Green/Left leave out. It's fake news below
THE man who helped create the world’s first 100 per cent renewable island, and who lives in a country that gets 50 per cent of its electricity from wind and other sources, says he has to travel to Australia for a blackout.
Soren Hermansen told news.com.au that blackouts are not common in Denmark, which gets about 50 per cent of its electricity from renewables. “I have to go to Australia to deal with a blackout, we never have blackouts, this is not bragging,” he said. “We have a very powerful grid — we don’t experience any failure.”
Denmark has managed to successfully integrate its renewables into its electricity system but it has also avoided some of the problems that Australia is experiencing by burying its distribution lines underground.
This helps avoid blackouts caused by severe weather, which led to South Australia’s statewide blackout in October.
While underground cabling would be very expensive to implement in Australia, taking out the storm factor, Mr Hermansen said Denmark’s system showed it was possible to successfully integrate renewable energy into the electricity network and create a stable system — without reliance on coal-fired power.
Debate has been raging in Australia about whether the country needs coal-fired power to provide a stable electricity system, in light of the a number of blackouts in South Australia, which gets about 40 per cent of it electricity from renewables.
But even on Samso, an island in Denmark where renewables provide 100 per cent of the electricity, Mr Hermansen said supply was very stable.
The island has a cable connecting it to the mainland but Mr Hermansen said it was used “rarely”, maybe two to three per cent of the time, at a maximum.
Most of the time, the island is a net exporter of electricity to the mainland.
Samso is an island of about 4000 people, and gets its electricity mainly from wind turbines, both on the island and offshore.
Five of the 10 offshore wind turbines are owned by the local government, three are privately owned mainly by local farmers who pooled their money to fund the project, and the last two are owned by a co-operative of small investors.
Mr Hermansen spoke at the national Community Energy Congress in Melbourne this week, and said local community support was one of the keys to creating a successful renewables grid.
“It requires people to be educated and informed, and to take responsibility for energy consumption and generation,” he said.
“(In the past) they were just consumers in a shop buying energy ... they got a bill every month, they paid it and that’s it.”
Nowadays electricity grids are becoming decentralised. Consumers can participate in the energy system, through things like installing rooftop solar panels that feed energy into the grid or by contributing to community electricity projects.
There are already community-funded solar projects in Australia, including an investor fund that raised $17,500 from 150 people to install a 29.9kW solar farm on the roof of Young Henry’s Brewery in Sydney.
It’s these types of community projects that are helping to generate electricity in Denmark.
Wind power alone produces about 40 per cent of Denmark’s electricity and the country aims to increase this by 100 per cent by 2050.
Power stations help generate the rest but instead of burning coal, many of them use local materials.
Power stations in forested areas are fed with wood chips, those in farming areas used manure and in the city, waste is incinerated.
The country is also innovative in its heating system, developing district heating networks to collect hot water or steam produced by power stations and transport this via water pipes to heat surrounding homes.
This supplies more than 60 per cent of homes in Denmark with heating and hot water. “It reduces our dependency on oil and also produces electricity,” Mr Hermansen said.
Denmark’s last coal fired power station has been decommissioned but is on standby mode until 2024. There is also some natural gas and LNG powered gas stations to help make up any shortfalls.
“The energy sector said this was not possible 10 to 15 years ago but it is happening now with no impact on industry or the security of the system,” Mr Hermansen said.
When asked whether Australia could follow Denmark’s lead, Mr Hermansen said while he didn’t know all the details of the system but it seemed viable.
“You have a lot of natural resources, there’s a lot of wind and other materials,” he said.