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Danish Goal: 50% of Electricity from Wind 523

tres3 writes "The Danes have an ambitious plan of producing 50% of their national electrical needs from wind by 2030. The website has tutorials on everything related to wind energy you can imagine. The index gives you an idea of the detail of the site. It includes land and sea wind turbines as well as details about the machinery needed and where to locate it. There are over 100 pages so I didn't link to them all. [ed. note: thanks] A picture says it all."
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Danish Goal: 50% of Electricity from Wind

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  • Ireland (Score:3, Informative)

    by asavage ( 548758 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @12:29AM (#4218657)
    Ireland also plans to get 10% of their power by wind. You can read a BBC article here [bbc.co.uk].
  • Santa Clara, CA (Score:5, Informative)

    by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @01:01AM (#4218766) Journal
    Silicon Valley's city of Santa Clara [siliconvalleypower.com] is very environmentally conscious. There are "Tree City USA" signs up all over the place, and the city-owned utility proudly trumpets the breakdown of its energy sources:

    It gets 43% of its electricity from hydroelectric dams, 22% from geothermal, and another 4% from other renewable sources.

    The city really focuses on finding plausible, cost-effective power sources, but for some reason it doesn't get any of its power from the wind. Perhaps the Santa Clarans know something the Danish don't?

  • by dachshund ( 300733 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @01:19AM (#4218825)
    Wind power generators have also been known to disrupt and kill birds. For example, in the early 1990s, a significant number of golden eagles were killed by turbines at California's Altamont pass.

    Modern windmills have a wingspan the size of a 747. They turn only a few times per minute. The windmills at Altamont pass are mostly older technology and spin much more rapidly. So far I haven't heard anyone claiming that the modern type of windmills are very bad in this way, though it's certainly possible for a bird to run into one.

    Also, Altamont is a particularly sensitive area for a number of endangered species. Any stories you've heard out of there wouldn't necessarily apply to the rest of the country.

    Also, in line with Trepidity's comment, the main problem with wind power from what I've heard is that it just requires too many turbines to get the neccesary amount of power. You have to have truly giant wind farms to get a pitiful amount of power...

    Wind power is competitive with coal and (certainly) nuclear (nuclear is really expensive when you look at the per kw/h prices.) And the technology is improving rapidly. It's worth pointing out that many of the companies building wind farms in the US are doing it to make money-- if wind really doubled their costs, they'd hardly be doing that. Wind does get a very minor gov't subsidy, but no more than the other power industries.

  • US Wind Power... (Score:2, Informative)

    by gnuDaruma ( 599237 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @01:28AM (#4218858)
    In the United States, about 10 billion kiloWattHours are produced and distributed per year. That's about enough for 1 million standard US households.

    The Danes plan to have 2.5 times this number of households provided for by 2030. I would imagine the US could match them in number of homes covered in the same time period. The fact that this represents 50% of their total needs is something very ambitious indeed!

    In order for the US to match the Danish goal, approximately 250 billion kilowatt hours would have to be produced for half the 100 million (approximate) US homes occupied today.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 09, 2002 @02:07AM (#4218983)
    You fail to take into account the power factor of your equipement. You need an rms phase angle amp meter and an rms volt meter. Actually, what you need is a power meter. Unless you take power factor and wave form into account, you are going to get errors. Measuring amps is OK for a resistive load, but for a complex load drawing power in pulses (as with switching power supplies), your method is going to have errors causing your calculations to be too high.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 09, 2002 @02:11AM (#4218991)
    Well birds have been chopped up in these things so it's no use pretending it's not a concern. That's why the U.S. DOE initiated research into the environmental impacts of wind farms and attempted to identify the optimal locations for wind farm placements.

    The National Wind Technology Center has a pretty thorough collection of research on the topic, which you can access here [nrel.gov].

    And about "polluting the visual environment," yeah that sounds dorky, but it's the kind of argument you hear in opposition to wind farm proposals in places like Nantucket. Personally I think they're kind of majestic, but that's just one man's opinion. Supporters of renewable energy really need to have some ready answers for these kinds of arguments.

  • Idling AMD chips (Score:4, Informative)

    by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot@NOsPam.hackish.org> on Monday September 09, 2002 @02:54AM (#4219083)
    Athlons have circuitry to disconnect from the system bus when idle (on a signal from the Northbridge, which gives the signal when the OS enters the ACPI C2 idle state), reducing clock rate and essentially going into a standby mode (~5W power consumption). Unfortunately, it's not enabled by default, partly due to minor performance problems (~3% is the normal performance hit), and partly due to intermittent problems with some motherboards, especially when using PCI bus-mastering cards that require low latency (such as video capture cards). I'm not sure why it's not available as a BIOS option though.

    In any case, you can enable it manually by setting the relevant bit in the Northbridge. For Linux, see the Athlon Powersaving HOWTO [uni-trier.de] for a variety of methods to enable it.

    For Windows, there's a utility called VCool, whose site was at vcool.occludo.net [occludo.net], but it appears to have disappeared in the past week or two.

    When idled using the setpci trick mentioned in the HOWTO, my Athlon 1.33 GHz, which used to idle at 57 C, now idles at 33 C (case temp is 31 C, so it's generating very little heat and by extension using very little power, especially compared to what it used to do).
  • by Per Abrahamsen ( 1397 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @02:56AM (#4219086) Homepage
    The report was from Sven Auken, a leading member of the social democrats, and the primary hate figure for the then opposition, now current government.

    The new right wing government have basically stopped or severely reduced funding for all environmental programs, and the current "wisdom" is that the emphasis on wind power was a mistake, because it (despite Denmarks 50% markedshare of the world production of wind mills) hasn't been short term profitable.

    The new government appointed Bjørn Lomborg as head for the only new environmental institution.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 09, 2002 @03:11AM (#4219116)
    actually this is the national number... I live in southern Denmark, where about 25% of our energy comes from the wind (damn, there are many mills here :). I have also read a report, that the western part of Jutland and southern Sealand also are nearing the 25% (off course they only represent 500.000 people or so).

    The reason why we got all these windmills, was that for one or two years ago they were good investment objects, but now there is no help from the government.
  • by ebbe11 ( 121118 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @03:20AM (#4219134)
    The Danes have an ambitious plan of producing 50% of their national electrical needs from wind by 2030.

    If you had bothered to look on this page (same site) and read the second paragraph [www.ens.dk] you would have found out that the goal is to get 35% of our energy from renewable sources, that is wind, waves, solar etc..

  • by Malcontent ( 40834 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @03:40AM (#4219168)
    One of the stated goals of Osama Bin Laden was to drive a wedge between the US and Saudi Dictatorship. He is offended that US soldiers are stationed on holy ground and wanted the Saudi govt to kick the American out. To achieve this end he recruited saudis to ride along on the airplanes and act as strongmen (keeping the passangers scared) while other arabs actually planned the attack and drove the planes (mostly egyptians).

    it was no accident that the bulk of the terrorist on 9-11 were saudis and egyptians, those two countries are by and large friendly with the US and Osama wanted to to end that. He nows full well that americans will not be able to differentiate the actions of a dozen terrorists with the actions of the countries those terrorists were born in.

    He had basically two main goals. Break any alliances between the US and the arab world, and incite a religous war between the US and the Arabs.

    On both of those he succeeded brilliantly. As comments like yours and many others on the media demonstrate there has been a severe strain on US saudi relations post 9-11. After all Saudis have been opressive theocracy for ever yet only post 9-11 are americans bringing it up. I of course need not mention that we are about to start a religous war with iraq any day now and that iraq, libya, somalia, and yemen will not be too far behind.

    When Iraq is attacked by the US Saddam knows he is going to die so he will attack Israel with all he has and this time there is no way in hell israel under sharon will stand on the sidelines. Once Israel starts droping bombs on iraqis Osama is hoping there will be massive riots in the arab world and the current spate of govts will fall only to be replaced by more radical fundamentalist govts.

    I think so far his plan is working great.
  • by nadaou ( 535365 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @04:00AM (#4219205) Homepage
    Once again, I urge you to read this article in regards to Bird Shredding:


    It's not an issue.

    But I do think a blade-guard would introduce enough turbulence to significantly reduce efficiency.

    They look quite futuristic and X-Filish.

    Even more so in the fog or at twilight.
  • by Oestergaard ( 3005 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @04:28AM (#4219282) Homepage
    A device running at 120VAC can consume 4 Amps *without* consuming 480 Watts.

    How? Well, most real-world devices are slightly (or sometimes not so slightly) inductive loads - this causes the current draw to lag after the voltage "peak" supplied.

    In the DC world, your formula is valid: P = U * I, effect equals voltage times current.

    In the AC world, it is still valid but it cannot be used the way that you used it. You multiplied the voltage with a current that was drawn at a different time - what you need to do is to find out the "power factor", the phase distortion (or whatever the english word for that is), of your devices.

    The formula becomes:
    P = U * I * cos(d)
    where d in most household devices would be anywhere from near-zero to 0.3 or so.

    The minimum cos(d) is regulated by law, at least in Denmark and probably everywhere else, since the power companies have a hard time measuring and correcting phase distortion.

    Anyway, what this all means is, that your devices probably only consume 60-80% of what you *think* you measured.

    It's still a lot though, I'll give you that :)
  • by MadDog Bob-2 ( 139526 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @04:48AM (#4219335)
    You're familiar with modern wind technology, correct? Large blades, turning slowly. Certainly some birds might smack into them (the same way they do to buildings and cars), but we're not talking about the little, fast-moving windmills of the 1970s and 80s.

    Fair enough, but, fundamentally, wind farms are still basically trying to obstruct the movement of a fluid that is being driven, at some remove, by solar power.

    Environmentalists get all worked up about hydro-electric and the fact that it fundamentally changes the river ecosystem, and then hold up wind as a better solution.

    As far as I can see, the only real difference between hydro and wind is that hydro is better localized, more consistent, and easier to harness. How many hillsides do you have to cover with windmills to match the power generation of a Grand Coulee or a Hoover Dam? They plan to have basically run out of terrestrial sites by 2005, at only 2.5x their current capacity.

    The energy consumption of a wealthy western population is huge. Attempts at renewable energy sources are laudable, but they pale by comparison to the volume of power generated by conventional means. The first page I found with actual numbers claims a goal of only 35% combined from all renewable sources by 2030 [www.ens.dk], not 50% from wind alone, but that still seems optimistic to the point of hubris when compared to the existing renewable energy sources. Even their own numbers only give a duty factor of 20% (1200GWH per year on 600MW of capacity).

    Attempts to migrate to renewable energy resources are laudable, but how long will it be before there's a backlash against the giant tracts of land being dedicated to unsightly wind farms?

  • Re:Santa Clara, CA (Score:3, Informative)

    by amorsen ( 7485 ) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Monday September 09, 2002 @05:12AM (#4219392)
    Denmark is flat. There is only one hydroelectric dam, and it is only run as a museum. Geothermal is a possibility, but so far it has proved to be a troublesome source of energy. Wind is plentiful in Denmark, and windmills are becoming relatively cheap.

    If Denmark is to live up to its very aggressive emission targets in the Kyoto protocol, wind power is definitely the most cost effective solution to get there. (The 1990 reference year happens to be a year where most of the electricity came from Swedish and Norwegian hydro plants, and therefore the emission were very low. These days Denmark is a net exporter of electricity, so emissions will naturally be higher. Yet the target is 22% below the 1990 level.)
  • This is not true (Score:4, Informative)

    by dybdahl ( 80720 ) <info.dybdahl@dk> on Monday September 09, 2002 @06:46AM (#4219536) Homepage Journal
    Denmark still has ambitions to increase the amount of energy produced by wind, but not to 50%. Please note, that this involves a reduction in the number of windmills... Small windmills that are less than 50 meters high will be removed in favor of windmills that are more than 100 meters high. In not too far future, windmills will go more than 200 meters into the sky - the size, efficiency and energy production per windmill is ever increasing.

    The big discussion right now is not using wind - it's about how to replace the current power grid with a new one, that better handles decentralized energy production. The efficiency of decentralized energy production has shown to be as good as the huge central coal plants, although Denmark has some world records in coal plant efficiency.

    Producing power decentralized introduces a lot of problems, because failure at one powerplant can destroy transmission on a big part of the current power grid. Therefore, a new power grid must be designed, that can handle a large amount of very small power producers - including corn burning facilities (instead of burning coal), windmills, wave energy facilities (at the ocean), biogas facilities etc.

    Some background information: Denmark is a coastal country where no place is more than 50km from the sea. Several reports have shown that windmills don't pay off economically, but they do pay off with regards to environment.

  • by pointwood ( 14018 ) <`jramskov' `at' `gmail.com'> on Monday September 09, 2002 @07:24AM (#4219644) Homepage

    IIRC, it was the plan under the previous government too, that the funding for wind mills should be slowed down and eventually stopped. The goal was (again, IIRC) to reach 14% in wind power and we have reached that goal. It's not good to have an industry that can't live without government funding. Furtunately the wind mills are getting (a lot) bigger and better and should soon be able to compete in the energy marked.

  • by Curieus ( 103853 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @08:00AM (#4219764)
    In the Netherlands, the legal minimum power factor for any aparatus is 0.8.

    That means that is you have 220 V and 1 Amp, there should be at least 176 W of power consumption.
    What is the reason behind this regulation.
    Well imagine that same 176 W of consumption with a power factor of 0.1. This would imply an 8 Ampere current. This current does move through the wires, say 10 metres in your house and 100km in the utilities wires (ok transformed up, but still). These wires have resistance, so this current produces heat. Apart from the question of who pays for these losses, there is something more important:
    The maximum energy transfer capacity along a line is mainly limited by its thermal capacity. (Crudely said: As long as the lines don't melt, they function).
    At a power factor of 0.1 the real capacity (I.E. the number of W transfered to the other side) of a line would be at least a factor of 64 lower than at a power factor of 0.8 minimum (losses are relative to the current squared).

    So depending on your legislation (how it defines power factor, just under load conditions or all conditions) the computed power use by these apparatus may well be close to the values you computed.
  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @08:07AM (#4219787)
    Am I just stating the bleeding obvious when I ask why you don't just turn these things off?

    I work in Europe, but travel to the US and one thing I instantly notice in their offices is no one turns their machines or monitors off when they go home. Is it any wonder there is an energy shortage with this kind of attitude?

Put no trust in cryptic comments.