Denmark says wind energy too expensive

Denmark’s government abandoned plans to build five offshore wind power farms Friday amid fears the electricity produced there would become too expensive for Danish consumers.

“Since 2012 when we reached the political agreement, the cost of our renewable policy has increased dramatically,” said Climate Minister Lars Christian Lilleholt, a Liberal Party politician representing the country’s minority government, according to Reuters.

The government would have had to pay $10.63 billion to buy Daily Caller  New Foundationelectricity from the five wind farms — a price deemed too expensive for consumers who already face the highest electricity prices in Europe.

“We can’t accept this, as the private sector and households are paying far too much. Denmark’s renewable policy has turned out to be too expensive,” Lilleholt said.

Denmark gets about 40 percent of its electricity from wind power and has a goal of getting half of its electricity from wind by 2020. But that goal has come up against a stronger prevailing headwind: high energy prices.

Danes have paid billions in taxes and fees to support wind turbines, which has caused electricity prices to skyrocket even as the price of actual electricity has decreased. Now, green taxes make up 66 percent of Danish electricity bills. Only 15 percent of electricity bills went to energy generation.

Electricity prices have gotten so high, the government has decided to slash green taxes on consumer energy bills.

“The PSO tariff is expensive and ineffective. We have long believed that the rising costs are unsustainable and now it is abundantly clear that we have to find an alternative. Therefore the government is ready for a showdown over the PSO levy,” Tax Minister Karsten Lauritzen said Tuesday.

Danish politicians still want the country to be completely independent of fossil fuels by 2050 as part of their effort to combat global warming, but ratcheting down green energy taxes means they’ll have to find other ways to finance wind projects.

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This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller


About the Author: Michael Bastasch

Michael Bastasch writes on energy, climate and the environment for the Daily Caller.

  1. Frederick Colbourne

    The public is easily misled about the technical feasibility of wind power.
    Even the 40% renewable energy the Danes now generate is feasible only because their population is so small (5.7 million) and they can draw power when needed from the grids of other countries.

    “Robust connection between Norway’s hydro turbines and West Denmark’s wind turbines holds the key to successful exploitation of wind for Denmark, and the German and Swedish connections are nearly as important.”

    (Similarly, the US state of Massachusetts has a population of about 6.7 million and gets about 15% of its power from Canadian hydroelectricity.)

  2. Dano2

    No, Denmark is not saying wind energy is too expensive. Another misleading story.

    Denmark is saying wind energy is too cheap and the payments they have to make to the developers to invest in the project is too expensive. Denmark got ~40% of its electricity from wind in 2015.



  3. wmartin46

    > Danes have paid billions in taxes and fees to support wind
    > turbines, which has caused electricity prices to skyrocket
    > even as the price of actual electricity has decreased. Now,
    > green taxes make up 66 percent of Danish electricity bills.
    > Only 15 percent of electricity bills went to energy generation.

    Before coming to a final conclusion here, it would pay to know what “green taxes” are, and where that money is going. If only 15% of the bill is going to energy production, why are the “green taxes” so high?

    • John Macdonell

      “Green taxes” may equal “general revenue taxes”. Agreed that more research is wanting here.

  4. Richard Mann

    News from Ontario, Canada. Wind and Solar are not reducing C02. Ontario’s own Engineering Society is telling us this. See the report, “Ontario’s Electricity Dilemma – Achieving Low Emissions at Reasonable Electricity Rates.” Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE), April 2015.

    Page 15 of 23. “Why Will Emissions Double as We Add Wind and Solar Plants ?”

    – Wind and Solar require flexible backup generation.

    – Nuclear is too inflexible to backup renewables without expensive engineering changes to the reactors.

    – Flexible electric storage is too expensive at the moment.

    – Consequently natural gas provides the backup for wind and solar in North America.

    – When you add wind and solar you are actually forced to reduce nuclear genera,on to make room for more natural gas generation to provide flexible backup.

    – Ontario currently produces electricity at less than 40 grams of CO2 emissions/kWh.

    – Wind and solar with natural gas backup produces electricity at about 200 grams of CO 2 emissions/kWh. Therefore adding wind and solar to Ontario’s grid drives CO2 emissions higher. From 2016 to 2032 as Ontario phases out nuclear capacity to make room for wind and solar, CO2 emissions will double (2013 LTEP data).

    – In Ontario, with limited economic hydro and expensive storage, it is mathematically impossible to achieve low CO2 emissions at reasonable electricity prices without nuclear generation.

  5. Bernd_Harzog

    When you can make wind power work 24×7 (even when the wind is not blowing) and solar power work 24X7 (even when the sun is not shining) or when you have battery technology that can span the gaps, then wind and solar will be cost competitive with traditional power generation.

    Until then you need to double pay for electricity. Once for the clean electricity that is available when the wind blows and the sun shines, and once again for the backup energy (powered by fossil fuels or nuclear) that is available all of the time.

    Paying twice for electricity is what makes renewable sources so expensive.

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