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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 09, 2002 @12:47AM (#4218718)
    They are also pretty loud as well. Wildlife also is pretty picky about living anywhere in the vacinity of items that produce noise.
  • by dachshund ( 300733 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @01:00AM (#4218759)
    as well as shred birds and insects by the hundredweight.

    Sure. Tell me more. You have some information or statistics that involve modern windmill technology?

    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.

    I'm tired of hearing this one trotted out every time somebody talks about wind. Show me the numbers, dammit!

    They're certainly going to pollute the visual enviroment

    Maybe we can disguise them as trees. Or put Budwiser advertising on them. Then they'll fit right in with the rest of the country :)

  • by buswolley ( 591500 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @01:01AM (#4218762) Journal
    This is nice. They are in fact implementing known technology for the benefit of all, AND DOING SO IN an aggressive visionary project. It is unfortunate that most of the industrialized world is not as nimble in implementing technology, when the benifits don't neccessarily fit neatly in an accountant's bookkeeping. We admire ourselves as humans with descriptions such as adaptive, modular etc. But our culture is not, when it comes in conflict with immediate rewards like profit. This Danish wind power project is an example of human culture rising to the challenge and becoming, indeed, an adaptive and modular culture. Now if we just had an aggressive program for developing cheap, clean and abundant energy.
  • by joneshenry ( 9497 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @01:01AM (#4218763)
    From the Danish perspective I would think whether or not wind power's merits will cause an energy revolution are irrelevant. The important thing is that the Danes aren't just using wind power, they are manufacturing the turbines and selling the technology abroad. This brings in cold cash and gives the country a niche in the global economy. That is the point.

    By having a focus, Danish industry can seek to acquire the IP such as patents to build up a top industry. As in other industries the idea is to go so far down the learning curve that it becomes more economical for other countries to buy the technology from you rather than develop it themselves.

    That is why conservatives who bash alternative energy are stupid. Any reading of US history shows massive government involvement to nurture any industry whether through protective tariffs, cash for infrastructure, land grants, whatever. To make money you have to spend money. A so-called conservative who espouses capitalism should understand that.

  • by Trillian_1138 ( 221423 ) <> on Monday September 09, 2002 @01:01AM (#4218765)
    I think the subject says it all. While impacting native wildlife is a differnet issue, if it was simply staring at white towers vs. not being able to breathe, I know what *i'd* choose...

  • by Anonymous Pancake ( 458864 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @01:08AM (#4218791) Homepage Journal
    The USA will never adopt wind power as long as it's run by a right wing oil tycoon. Bush has no respect for the environment at all, and americans continue to destroy the earth with their garbage.

  • by sting3r ( 519844 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @01:09AM (#4218796) Homepage
    I went on a tour of my condo with my trusty Fluke ampmeter today, wondering why my power bills are so high and why my air conditioner runs constantly despite the fact that it's only set for 80 degrees. I was shocked and appalled at all of the energy that my electronic toys waste while they are in their idle states. Let's take a look at the numbers and see:
    • TV setup. My television, amplifier, and Tivo alone took up 1.6 Amps = 185 watts, while they were completely idle. The Tivo was not recording anything, and I verified that it was not doing anything by telnetting in and observing that the load average was 0.00. Does it really require 1.6 amps just to spin a hard drive and wait for a 10mW infrared signal??
    • Computer monitors. I run XFree86 4 in dual-head mode. My two monitors take up 2.6 Amps = 300 watts while they are on, and a whopping 70 watts when they are turned off at the switch. It's worth noting that they produce about a third of the light, and twice the heat, of two 150W light bulbs.
    • Computer hardware. The power strip supporting my 1.6Ghz Athlon and 1Ghz Duron draws a whopping 4.4 Amps, or 500 watts, while both systems sit at zero load! Apparently, AMD expended significantly more effort making sure their processors were well-equipped to start house fires when the heatsink falls off, rather than making those Linux kernel "CPU idle" calls actually do anything.
    • Uninterruptable power supplies. These were the sleeper hit of my power measurement experiment: with full batteries and no devices on the load side, my UPSes drew 50-80 watts of power each. I understand that filtering power comes at a cost, but these things really should be designed to be at least a little bit more efficient than the average space heater.
    So, this brings me to my main point: why is it that my cell phone can run for two weeks without a recharge, my digital scale can run for 10 years (guaranteed) on a single battery, my thermostat, analog clocks, and smoke detectors can run for 2-3 years between battery changes, but my computers and consumer electronics have to suck up as much power as my toaster while they are completely idle?

    As long as our toys are designed to waste as much energy as legally possible, even the most well-intentioned power conservation efforts are doomed to utter failure.


  • by nathanh ( 1214 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @01:13AM (#4218806) Homepage
    They're certainly going to pollute the visual enviroment

    I suppose you prefer the visual beauty of a strip mine?

  • by Camel Pilot ( 78781 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @01:20AM (#4218827) Homepage Journal
    I applaud the Danes for their bold, foward thinking Energy 21 energy policy. Bush's policy on the other hand, involves meddling in the middle east or drilling in our national parks and preserves.

    Being the man of vision that he is, Bush, should reconsider our depenence on oil from the middle east and its impact of our foriegn policy. Like a drug addicted individual the US governments choices sometimes are far from rational.

    For example, we call the Saudi's "our fiends". Bullshit! They would slice our thoat in a heart beat if we were not their biggest customer. They are a twisted theocracy that rejects womens rights, democracy, personal liberty, religious freedom, etc. We have nothing in common.

    If the man would come out with a Kennedy like vision and plan of developing renewable technologies such as wind, solar, geothermal, wave, conservation, etc. and even clean and safe nuclear we would be much further down road to world stability, peace and prosperity. Instead he wants to start another war and one which has the potential of being a messy urban war where civilian casualities are unavoidable if you want to win.
  • by Sanity ( 1431 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @01:52AM (#4218938) Homepage Journal
    Not 15 years ago, Ireland was often regarded as the third-world of Europe, yet they are willing to do what it takes to comply with the Kyoto Protocol (flawed that it might be, it is the best we have).

    Why can't the US, the world's largest economy, do the same?

  • by hazem ( 472289 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @02:53AM (#4219081) Journal
    Don't you know? Humans are creatures that would much rather react to a crisis than plan for a better future. As long as oil is cheap and plentiful there's no "crisis" to push us into better mothods.

    With that in mind, I say lets drill it all, suck it out and burn it as fast as possible so we can finally have a decent crisis that will force us to look at better energy systems!
  • by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @02:57AM (#4219090)
    First of all, if you actually read both of the stories you have linked, you'd see that your demonized "Environmentalists" have nothing to do with the opposition to the windmill plans. The only people raising protest are those who live directly under the structures and the rest who will see them through their windows. Hardly an occasion to attack Greenpeace. Anyway, ask to have the shit built outside your living room window if you think these people are so nuts.

    Your citation of Dr. Moore shows what, exactly? That some in the left wing disagree with some others in the left wing? Oooh! Just because Greenpeace gets more involved in politics in the process of protecting the environment, and this old-schooler thinks they should proceed a different way, that doesn't mean Greenpeace is doing anything wrong. The thing about the lacking science education is true up to a point, but exactly how many science Ph.D.'s are memebers of Greenpeace? One that I know personally, and I bet you there are tons more. Yes the average environmentalist hippy doesn't know much about science, that's unfortunately a fair observation, but why should we hold them to a special standard regarding this? After all, only a right-wing nutcase could possibly think the average Greenpeace hippy knows less about science than the President of the United States.

  • by Malcontent ( 40834 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @03:19AM (#4219131)
    Unfortunately the demand for wood is already so high that forests worldwide are being stripped faster then they can regenate.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 09, 2002 @04:02AM (#4219214)
    Well let's say you happen to own some land and you have a little cottage there that you visit every summer. Then someone wants to build a few dozen windmills and they put it infront of your cottage?

    The problem is that few people live near the coast and people who vote for the windmills live in the city. Also, surprise surprise, more people live in the cities, so our democracy gets its way, so let the people at the coast suffer and make all the hypocrites in the city think they made a favor to their environment.

    My cousin who is a so called "green" and lives in the Finnish capital Helsinki, opposes nuclear energy, opposes fur-farming, wants people to do catch and release when they fish etc. etc. Now when I asked her about the placement of these windmills, she simply told me it's not her problem. Well I'm quite sure she wouldn't want one of these in her backyard.

    Besides these windmills have a very annoying low frequence sound. If I'm disturbed about it, then how about animals that usually hear a lot better than humans?
  • Re:Santa Clara, CA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Simon Brooke ( 45012 ) <> on Monday September 09, 2002 @04:59AM (#4219360) Homepage Journal
    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?


    They know they've got mountains, with rivers descending gradients thus making suitable sites for hydro schemes. Denmark has no mountains.

    They know they're sitting on a tectonic fault line, where geothermal energy can be tapped. Denmark has no tectonic faults.

    I can't help getting irritated with the ignorant American assumption that what works for them in their particular location will work for everyone everwhere. It won't. In Iceland, where they have plenty of geothermal energy, they power domestic heating, aluminium smelters and spa baths directly from geothermal sources. Works for them. Here in Scotland (and also in Norway) we have a lot of rain and a lot of mountains, so we have a lot of hydro-electric power. Works for us. There are places in the world that have lots of sunlight, and can realistically expect to generate some proportion of their energy needs from solar power.

    The Danes don't have any of these advantages, so they have to do the best they can with what they've got. Which happens to be wind. The Danes aren't stupid. They aren't perverse, or ignorant, or backward. They live on a flat sandbar with few mineral resources in a cool sea, and they're doing it well.

  • by [Marvin] ( 46773 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @05:01AM (#4219365) Homepage
    Currently about 10% of our energy demands are covered through windmill technology. Some people believe that that's the maximum economically viable amount because of energy fluctuations and such - and they do have a point; windmills are largely funded by the state, you get a higher price for energy that's produced by windmills and the energy companies have to buy the available windmill energy.

    That means the energy companies have to downsize their fossile fuel powerplants (no, we don't have nuclear power in Denmark - political decision) to avoid losing money and that becomes a problem at times when there's no wind.

    Luckily Denmark can import electricity from our neighbours - which brings us to what I think is the main reason we're pushing for 50% windmill coverage:

    The Kyoto Protocol. (For all the americans: you know, the one you signed but didn't ratify)

    The problem is that in the reference year('92 I think) that the different countries are supposed to lower their CO2 emissions relative to we imported quite a bit of power. That means that without massive betting on alternative energy, we have to produce more power than in the reference year from fossile fuel.

    I don't really mind all this because I believe we will then be forced to figure out how to store the energy (giant flywheels anyone?) or perhaps make energy-exchange relations with other countries which have a lot of energy from alternative sources.
  • Re:Santa Clara, CA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @05:23AM (#4219415) Journal
    I can't help getting irritated that a veteran slashdotter doesn't read the rest of the thread before posting. See my earlier response [] to the other people who pointed out the difference in the geography of the two locations.

    You shouldn't be so defensive -- nothing in my post implied that Americans are smarter or more advanced than people in other countries. Simply that I knew of an organization that had an interest in pursuing wind power but chose not to use it.

    The great irony here is that as you were sitting in Scotland writing about my American arrogance, I was lying awake in bed late at night in America avidly reading a novel by an author who resides in Edinburgh. I have plenty of respect for the intelligence, abilities and achievements of people outside the U.S.

  • by Ethanol ( 176321 ) on Monday September 09, 2002 @01:04PM (#4221568)
    Note that you could work around most of these problems by buying and using a laptop computer:
    • They have built-in batteries, and need no UPS.
    • They have built-in monitors (though they're small, and you still may wish to use an external one at times).
    • Their processors are usually slower than the current state of the art, but they're typically only a year or so behind.
    • A price differential of $300 will pay for itself in a year of continuous uptime, just from savings on power bills. (If we assume inflated power prices such as we're seeing now in California, and that the alternative is your current powerhog system, the payback period is only three months.)
    • Best of all... they're quiet.

    The big drawback to laptops is you can't mess around with them to anything like the same extent. You're pretty much stuck with the same video card for the life of the computer, for example, and processor or memory upgrades are difficult, and *ix support can be spotty. But I find the tradeoffs well worthwhile.

    What I find frustrating is that there's nothing in the world preventing a computer manufacturer from building a desktop system as power-frugal (and as quiet) as a laptop, but none of them do it. Grrr!

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.