Posts Tagged ‘Denmark’

RenewableEnergyWorld.com, January 29, 2009

irena_bonn_300On January 28, 2009, the launch of a long-planned international agency to promote the interests of renewable energy took place in Bonn, Germany. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will advise industrialized and developing nations on ways of reducing their dependency on oil, coal and gas.

The new agency aims to counterbalance existing bodies like the International Energy Agency in France and the nuclear–focused IRENA in Vienna. Founder countries signing up to the agreement include Germany, Denmark, Spain and the UAE. Some 55 governments have committed to full IRENA membership, with a total of 116 countries taking part. Significant absentees from full membership were USA and UK, although both administrations are expected to send officials to observe.

Speaking at the opening event, German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the potential for renewable energies is huge, and needs more help to achieve a global breakthrough. “IRENA will be the new mouthpiece for renewable energies,” he said. 

The new organization aims to facilitate the transfer of renewable technologies to developing countries and encourage the widespread adoption of renewable energy.

There is expected to be competition for the host country for IRENA with Bonn and Abu Dhabi having already thrown their hats into the ring. Abu Dhabi is pushing itself forward as a hub for renewable energy research and development with the construction of the Masdar sustainable city, the announcement last week of a seven per cent renewable energy target by 2010, and the hosting of the World Future Energy Summit. Speaking at the Summit last week, Masdar CEO Dr Sultan Al Jabar said, “Abu Dhabi will express keen interest in hosting IRENA in Masdar city”.

German Member of Parliament and long-time proponent of a body to represent the interest of renewable energy, Hermann Sheer said, “Renewable energy’s potential has been underestimated in the past. This international organization will create a level playing field and help governments develop policies tailored to their own requirements.”

Thailand Energy Minister Wannarat Charnukul, who is attending the opening ceremony, last week welcomed the launch of IRENA. “We’ve confronted some problems with solar energy development in Thailand so we need some technology transfer from IRENA,” Wannaret said.

Germany, Spain and Denmark initially campaigned for the foundation of a renewable energy organization. The preliminary framework was drawn up in Madrid in October 2008.


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THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, The New York Times, December 10, 2008

As I think about our bailing out Detroit, I can’t help but reflect on what, in my view, is the most important rule of business in today’s integrated and digitized global market, where knowledge and innovation tools are so widely distributed. It’s this: Whatever can be done, will be done. The only question is will it be done by you or to you. Just don’t think it won’t be done. If you have an idea in Detroit or Tennessee, promise me that you’ll pursue it, because someone in Denmark or Tel Aviv will do so a second later.

Why do I bring this up? Because someone in the mobility business in Denmark and Tel Aviv is already developing a real-world alternative to Detroit’s business model. I don’t know if this alternative to gasoline-powered cars will work, but I do know that it can be done — and Detroit isn’t doing it. And therefore it will be done, and eventually, I bet, it will be done profitably.

And when it is, our bailout of Detroit will be remembered as the equivalent of pouring billions of dollars of taxpayer money into the mail-order-catalogue business on the eve of the birth of eBay. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into the CD music business on the eve of the birth of the iPod and iTunes. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into a book-store chain on the eve of the birth of Amazon.com and the Kindle. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into improving typewriters on the eve of the birth of the PC and the Internet.

What business model am I talking about? It is Shai Agassi’s electric car network company, called Better Place. Just last week, the company, based in Palo Alto, Calif., announced a partnership with the state of Hawaii to road test its business plan there after already inking similar deals with Israel, Australia, the San Francisco Bay area and, yes, Denmark.

The Better Place electric car charging system involves generating electrons from as much renewable energy — such as wind and solar — as possible and then feeding those clean electrons into a national electric car charging infrastructure. This consists of electricity charging spots with plug-in outlets — the first pilots were opened in Israel this week — plus battery-exchange stations all over the respective country. The whole system is then coordinated by a service control center that integrates and does the billing.

Under the Better Place model, consumers can either buy or lease an electric car from the French automaker Renault or Japanese companies like Nissan (General Motors snubbed Agassi) and then buy miles on their electric car batteries from Better Place the way you now buy an Apple cellphone and the minutes from AT&T. That way Better Place, or any car company that partners with it, benefits from each mile you drive. G.M. sells cars. Better Place is selling mobility miles.

The first Renault and Nissan electric cars are scheduled to hit Denmark and Israel in 2011, when the whole system should be up and running. On Tuesday, Japan’s Ministry of Environment invited Better Place to join the first government-led electric car project along with Honda, Mitsubishi and Subaru. Better Place was the only foreign company invited to participate, working with Japan’s leading auto companies, to build a battery swap station for electric cars in Yokohama, the Detroit of Japan.

What I find exciting about Better Place is that it is building a car company off the new industrial platform of the 21st century, not the one from the 20th — the exact same way that Steve Jobs did to overturn the music business. What did Apple understand first? One, that today’s technology platform would allow anyone with a computer to record music. Two, that the Internet and MP3 players would allow anyone to transfer music in digital form to anyone else. You wouldn’t need CDs or record companies anymore. Apple simply took all those innovations and integrated them into a single music-generating, purchasing and listening system that completely disrupted the music business.

What Agassi, the founder of Better Place, is saying is that there is a new way to generate mobility, not just music, using the same platform. It just takes the right kind of auto battery — the iPod in this story — and the right kind of national plug-in network — the iTunes store — to make the business model work for electric cars at six cents a mile. The average American is paying today around 12 cents a mile for gasoline transportation, which also adds to global warming and strengthens petro-dictators.

Do not expect this innovation to come out of Detroit. Remember, in 1908, the Ford Model-T got better mileage — 25 miles per gallon — than many Ford, G.M. and Chrysler models made in 2008. But don’t be surprised when it comes out of somewhere else. It can be done. It will be done. If we miss the chance to win the race for Car 2.0 because we keep mindlessly bailing out Car 1.0, there will be no one to blame more than Detroit’s new shareholders: we the taxpayers.

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MendoCoastCurrent, December 9, 2008

DONG Energy and Wind Estate A/S opened the second stage of Overgård wind farm on December 2, 2008. With the construction of 10 new wind turbines next to 20 existing turbines, Overgård will now be Denmark’s largest onshore wind farm.

The wind farm, situated approx. 25 km northwest of Randers in East Jutland, has a capacity of 63 Megawatts (MW) and will be able to produce electricity equivalent to the annual power consumption of about 35,000 households.

“With the construction of Denmark’s largest onshore wind farm, DONG Energy is reaching yet another important milestone in wind energy development. Next year we will be following up with the world’s largest offshore wind farm,” says Anders Eldrup, CEO of DONG Energy.

The first stage of Overgård wind farm was completed in 2002–2003 and comprises 20 turbines, each generating 2 MW. The second stage, which just opened, comprises 10 turbines generating 2.3 MW each.

The construction of the 10 new turbines has resulted in a clean-up of the East Jutland landscape. 35 older turbines all around the region have thus been salvaged, and their production capacity more than compensated for by the 10 new turbines at Overgård wind farm.

Thanks to an increase in generator size (2.3 MW as opposed to 2.0 MW) and longer blades (47 metres as opposed to 36 metres), the 10 new turbines will produce as much power as the 20 old ones. The longer blades entail that the new wind turbines are 127 metres high compared to the older turbine height of 106 metres.

DONG Energy and Wind Estate A/S each own five of the 10 new turbines, while DONG Energy owns eight of the 20 older turbines.

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ALOK JHA, The Guardian, October 21, 2008

The United Kingdom now leads the world in generating electricity from offshore wind farms, the government said today as it completed the construction of a farm near the coast off Skegness, Lincolnshire.

The new farm, built by the energy company Centrica, will produce enough power for 130,000 homes, raising the total electricity generated from offshore wind in the UK to 590 megawatts (MW), enough for 300,000 UK homes.

The completion of 194MW of turbines at Lynn and Inner Dowsing means that the UK has overtaken Denmark, which has 423MW of offshore wind turbines.

“Offshore wind is hugely important to help realize the government’s ambition to dramatically increase the amount of energy from renewable sources. Overtaking Denmark is just the start,” said Mike O’Brien, a minister at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. “There are already five more offshore windfarms under construction that will add a further 938MW to our total by the end of next year.”

But despite today’s announcement, the UK is still near the bottom of the European league table when it comes to harnessing renewable energy, campaigners say.

Nick Rau, Friends of the Earth’s renewable energy campaigner, said: “The government must stop trying to wriggle out of European green energy targets and put a massive effort into making renewable power the number one source of energy in the UK. The UK has one of the biggest renewable energy potentials in Europe – this must be harnessed to make this country a world leader in tackling climate change.”

Maria McCaffery, the chief executive of the British Wind Energy Association, was enthusiastic but also urged more government action. “We are now a global leader in a renewable energy technology for the first time ever. Now is the time to step up the effort even further and secure the huge potential for jobs, investment and export revenues that offshore wind has for Britain.”

Greenpeace chief scientist, Doug Parr, said the only downside was that many of the turbines for the UK windfarms were being manufactured abroad. “We need a green new deal for renewable energy, creating tens of thousands of new jobs and providing a shot in the arm to the British manufacturing sector. If the government now diverts serious financial and political capital towards this project it will put Britain in pole position to tackle the emerging challenges of the 21st century.”

The UK currently gets 3GW of electricity from wind power, but 80% of that is from onshore farms. On Tuesday, the Carbon Trust detailed its plans to accelerate the development of offshore wind in the UK. The trust plans to work with major energy companies on a £30m initiative to cut the cost of offshore wind energy by 10%.

“The UK has an amazing opportunity not just to lead the world but to be the dominant global player,” said Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust. “Our research shows that by 2020 the UK market could represent almost half of the global market for offshore wind power. To make that happen it will be critical to improve the current economics of offshore wind power.”

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MendoCoastCurrent, October 21, 2008

Denmark’s Floating Power Plant is currently being tested in Danish waters and exploring both wind and wave opportunities in the North Sea.

Poseidon may be one of the most promising wave energy concepts available today. The goal is to become a stable and competitive concept for wave energy, hereby becoming an accepted competitor on the market for sustainable energy production. The potential in wave energy is huge.

70% of the earth’s surface is covered by water. The Danish part of the North Sea (which is a very low water energy area) can supply approximately 21 TWH per year, which corresponds to 65 % of the annual Danish energy consumption.

The potential market for wave energy in future is merely emphasized by a cost effective and competitive sustainable supply combined with:

  • an extremely large potential
  • increased focus on new and renewable energy source
  • increased focus on reduction of green house gases
  • increased focus on provision of energy supply security

Poseidon is an invention, an ambition and a specific plan to develop and construct sustainable energy power plants in a scale, output and economy that surmounts all previous attempts to transform the oceans infinite energy resources into electricity.

One single 230 meter power plant unit is able to supply 12,500 households with electricity from its location off shore.

Poseidon is a concept for a floating power plant that transforms wave energy into electricity. The power plant furthermore serves as a floating foundation for offshore windmills, thus creating a sustainable energy hybrid. Poseidon has not yet been built at full scale, but has been tested with fine results in scales of 8 meters and 17 meters. A 37 meter off shore demonstration plant was launched in summer 2008. A full scale Poseidon plant can measure from 100 and up to 420 meter depending on wave and wind conditions at the chosen location.

A Poseidon 230 meter scale plant is expected to perform as follows:

  • Efficiency of transforming inherent wave energy to electricity of 35%
  • The total installed effect of the plant is 30.000 kW, including the 3 windmills
  • Energy yield from the waves of 28,207 MWH per year provided the plant is located in the Portuguese part of the Atlantic Ocean
  • Energy yield from the 3 windmills of totally 22,075 MWH per year

The Technologies

Poseidon is based on the principle of oscillating water columns. It is designed for location offshore in areas with considerable flux and has a significantly higher installed effect, efficiency and energy production compared to other wave energy systems.

Some of the innovative technological features, leading to Poseidon’s positive results, are:

  • The dynamical ballasting of the floats
  • The anchor system
  • The steadiness of the plant
  • The profile of the floats
  • The closed system
  • The possibility of integration of other sustainable energy production technologies
  • The offshore location

How It Began

The concept of Poseidon was established back in 1980. In 1996 the development process was speeded up and the concept has since undergone tests in scale models in size:

·         4,2 meter wave front, system test

·         16,8 meter wave front, floater test

·         8,4 meter wave front, system test

Between these tests, continues engineering development has been performed.

The 4,2 meter wave front, system test

In 1998 the first concept test was performed at Aalborg University in their off-shore basin. The aim of the test was to verify the durability and sustainability of the concept. The test was performed without wind turbines. The results were promising and indicated a potential for a new competitive wave power take off system.

Now – Poseidon 37

Floating Power Plant has constructed a 37 meter model for a full off-shore test at Vindeby off-shore wind turbine park, off the coast of Lolland in Denmark. The demonstration plant named Poseidon 37 is 37 meters wide, 25 meters long, 6 meters high (to deck) and weighs approximately 300 ton. The Poseidon 37 demonstration plant was launched in Nakskov Harbour in Summer 2008 and installed at the off shore test site in September 2008.

The goal of the test is to:

  • Document the utilization rate in off-shore conditions.
  • Document the use of the system as a floating foundation for wind turbines.
  • Learn from off shore testing.
  • Use the site as a platform for further development.

Poseidon 37 and the Environment

Minimizing the environmental impact caused by constructing Poseidon is important to the application partners and FPP.

There are several positive environmental impacts from the construction of Poseidon. The energy production from a 230 meter Poseidon power plant will reduce an annual emission from a traditional fossil fuel power generation by:

  • 145 tonnes of sulphur dioxide
  • 120 tonnes of nitric oxides
  • 35000 tonnes of carbon dioxide
  • 2600 tonnes of slag and fly ash

Poseidon utilises and absorbs the inherent energy from the waves, thereby reducing the height of the waves significantly and creating calm waters behind the front of the plant.

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THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, The New York Times Op-Ed, August 10, 2008


The Arctic Hotel in Ilulissat, Greenland, is a charming little place on the West Coast, but no one would ever confuse it for a Four Seasons — maybe a One Seasons. But when my wife and I walked back to our room after dinner the other night and turned down our dim hallway, the hall light went on. It was triggered by an energy-saving motion detector. Our toilet even had two different flushing powers depending on — how do I say this delicately — what exactly you’re flushing. A two-gear toilet! I’ve never found any of this at an American hotel. Oh, if only we could be as energy efficient as Greenland!

A day later, I flew back to Denmark. After appointments here in Copenhagen, I was riding in a car back to my hotel at the 6 p.m. rush hour. And boy, you knew it was rush hour because 50% of the traffic in every intersection was bicycles. That is roughly the percentage of Danes who use two-wheelers to go to and from work or school every day here. If I lived in a city that had dedicated bike lanes everywhere, including one to the airport, I’d go to work that way, too. It means less traffic, less pollution and less obesity.

What was most impressive about this day, though, was that it was raining. No matter. The Danes simply donned rain jackets and pants for biking. If only we could be as energy smart as Denmark!

Unlike America, Denmark, which was so badly hammered by the 1973 Arab oil embargo that it banned all Sunday driving for a while, responded to that crisis in such a sustained, focused and systematic way that today it is energy independent. (And it didn’t happen by Danish politicians making their people stupid by telling them the solution was simply more offshore drilling.)

What was the trick? To be sure, Denmark is much smaller than us and was lucky to discover some oil in the North Sea. But despite that, Danes imposed on themselves a set of gasoline taxes, CO2 taxes and building-and-appliance efficiency standards that allowed them to grow their economy — while barely growing their energy consumption — and gave birth to a Danish clean-power industry that is one of the most competitive in the world today. Denmark today gets nearly 20% of its electricity from wind. America? About 1%.

And did Danes suffer from their government shaping the market with energy taxes to stimulate innovations in clean power? In one word, said Connie Hedegaard, Denmark’s minister of climate and energy: “No.” It just forced them to innovate more — like the way Danes recycle waste heat from their coal-fired power plants and use it for home heating and hot water, or the way they incinerate their trash in central stations to provide home heating. (There are virtually no landfills here.)

There is little whining here about Denmark having $10-a-gallon gasoline because of high energy taxes. The shaping of the market with high energy standards and taxes on fossil fuels by the Danish government has actually had “a positive impact on job creation,” added Hedegaard. “For example, the wind industry — it was nothing in the 1970s. Today, one-third of all terrestrial wind turbines in the world come from Denmark.” In the last 10 years, Denmark’s exports of energy efficiency products have tripled. Energy technology exports rose 8% in 2007 to more than $10.5 billion in 2006, compared with a 2% rise in 2007 for Danish exports as a whole.

“It is one of our fastest-growing export areas,” said Hedegaard. It is one reason that unemployment in Denmark today is 1.6%. In 1973, said Hedegaard, “we got 99% of our energy from the Middle East. Today it is zero.”

Frankly, when you compare how America has responded to the 1973 oil shock and how Denmark has responded, we look pathetic.

“I have observed that in all other countries, including in America, people are complaining about how prices of [gasoline] are going up,” Denmark’s prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, told me. “The cure is not to reduce the price, but, on the contrary, to raise it even higher to break our addiction to oil. We are going to introduce a new tax reform in the direction of even higher taxation on energy and the revenue generated on that will be used to cut taxes on personal income — so we will improve incentives to work and improve incentives to save energy and develop renewable energy.”

Because it was smart taxes and incentives that spurred Danish energy companies to innovate, Ditlev Engel, the president of Vestas — Denmark’s and the world’s biggest wind turbine company — told me that he simply can’t understand how the U.S. Congress could have just failed to extend the production tax credits for wind development in America.

Why should you care?

“We’ve had 35 new competitors coming out of China in the last 18 months,” said Engel, “and not one out of the U.S.”

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MendoCoastCurrent, January 29, 2008

wave_star_nissum_bredning_2006_182Wave Star Energy in scale 1:10 has now been in operation and grid connected since April 2006 at Nissum Bredning in the North Western corner of Denmark.

Since then the company’s test machine has logged almost 4.000 operational hours in the first six months of daily operation, been through seven significant storms and is a major step on the way towards commercial wave power.

The 1:10 scale model is 24 metres long and designed to stand in water which is a couple of metres deep and operates in waves which are 1:10 og fhte wave height in the North Sea.

The 20 floats on either side of the machine, which generate the electricity by being pressed upwards by the waves, are one metre in diameter and generate electricity from waves of a height of just 5 centimetres. But in spite of its size the test machine has been built in exactly the same way as the 240-metre long Wave Star machines of the future.

“The 1:10 machine is controlled in exactly the same way as the full-scale machine and this means that it provides us with practical operational experience,” explains Per Resen Steenstrup.

The test machine has an output of 5.5 kilowatt and can generate electrical power corresponding to the electrical power consumption of two single-family houses. The plan is that it will remain in Nissum Bredning until August 2008. Wave Star Energy has already begun work on the construction of a first series produced 1:2 model of the 6 megawatt machine, which is the ultimate goal.

“Each time the size of the machine is doubled – and can thereby operat in a wave height which is twice as high – the power of the machine increases 11 times. With wind turbines the effect is only quadrupled at the same wind speed,” says Per Resen Steenstrup.

This means that the 1:2 model will have an output of 500 kilowatt.

“As soon as we have tested the 1:2 model and documented its output data in the North Sea, we will begin to market the Wave Star machine. And the prospects are huge. To put it into context you could say that, in the course of the 25 or so years which the wind turbine industry has been in existence, it has succeeded in reducing the price per kilowatt hour roughly seven times. But we just need to reduce the price four times to get down to the same level,” explains Per Resen Steenstrup.

The Wave Star wave power machines will be designed for an operating life of approx. 50 years in an ocean environment. The plan is that the machine will undergo a major inspection every 10 years, when the machine will be towed into land, thereby avoiding costly offshore operations. In reality the machines will be written off in less than 20 years, so the remaining operating life represents pure profit.

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