APPENDIX 7: RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY IN
Denmark has the highest share of wind-generated electricity
in the EU15.7% of its total consumption in 2006. The country
is accordingly held up as an example by some commentators, while
others draw attention to features of the company's experience
that may not be transferable abroad. Denmark is a relatively small
country, with strong transmission links to Germany, Norway and
Sweden. The (separate) electricity systems in Eastern and Western
Denmark joined the Nordic electricity wholesale market, Nord Pool,
in 1999 and 2000 respectively. When the transmission lines are
not congested, this market sets a single price for power in Denmark,
Finland, Norway and Sweden, ensuring efficient levels of cross-border
The columns in figure below show how the level of
generation in Denmark has varied over time. The output of wind
generators has increased by a significant amount, whereas the
output of coal-fired plants has fluctuated dramatically from year
to year. The top line in the figure shows that Danish electricity
consumption has grown steadily, and cannot be the cause of the
The bottom line in the figure shows Denmark's net
exports of electricity.
There is clearly a strong relationship between net exports and
the output of coal-fired generation. The graph does not show this,
but those net exports are, in turn, strongly linked to the output
of hydro-electric power in Finland, Norway and Sweden. In dry
years, with relatively little hydro output, exports from Denmark
(and Germany) make up some of the slack.
There is little sign of a long-term trend for exports to either
increase or decrease over time.
The middle line in the figure shows Denmark's emissions
of carbon dioxide from electricity generation. These emissions
are clearly linked to the amount of coal- (and oil) fired generation.
In other words, Denmark emits more carbon dioxide in years when
dry conditions in Scandinavia mean that Danish generators are
able to send more power northwards. They do so by increasing the
output of coal-fired power stations.
Since Denmark's total output of electricity does
not depend solely on conditions within the country, the country's
movement towards a lower-carbon energy system is better measured
by emissions of carbon dioxide per kWh generated than by total
emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions per kWh of electricity generated
were 24% lower in 2006 than in 1995.
Electricity in Denmark
The Danish wind industry does gain significantly
from the country's strong interconnections to its neighbours.
On an hour-to-hour basis, there is a clear tendency for Denmark
to export power when the wind is high, and to import power when
it has little wind generation. Without the ability to exchange
power with its neighbours, Denmark would find it more difficult
to integrate its wind generatorswe have not attempted to
assess how difficult. However, the exchanges within a year tend
to balance themselves outover a year as a whole, we found
no evidence of a correlation between Denmark's net exports and
its output from wind generation.
63 The vertical axis starts at zero, although net exports
can be negative, because in the two years in which Denmark was
a net importer of electricity, the amounts involved were small
(665 GWh in 2000 and 1,369 GWh in 2005). Back
The correlation coefficient between Denmark's net exports and
hydro generation in the other three countries is -0.75, showing
a strong inverse relationship, while the correlation between Danish
net exports and coal-fired generation is even stronger, at 0.89. Back
The 2006 figure did represent a slight increase on 2005, but this
was because the increase in net exports led to an increase in
the level of coal-fired generation, and the average emissions
rose accordingly. Back