Danish wind power is soon ready to survive on its own. Photo: Flickr.com / Blaine O’Neil CC BY NC

Renewables to be subsidy free

Almost 90 per cent of new power in Europe came from renewable sources in 2016. For the first time windfarms accounted for more than half of the capacity installed.

Bloomberg reports that Danish renewable energy is set to be subsidy free in a few years.

“After more than four decades of relying on subsidies, Denmark’s renewable energy industry is ready to survive on its own much sooner than anyone expected. The Danish energy minister, Lars Christian Lilleholt, says that ‘in just a few years,’ renewable energy providers won’t need state support anymore. He says it’s a development he couldn’t have imagined as recently as last year.”

“Lilleholt says the experience in Denmark ...demonstrates that coal is no longer cheaper to produce than renewable energy. What’s more, the development is set to become more pronounced, Lilleholt says. ‘Everything suggests that technology will help make renewable energy more and more competitive,’ he said. And as green energy becomes more efficient, the minister warns that ‘already today, it’s impossible to build a new coal power plant without support.’”

Bloomberg further reports that “Germany’s electricity grid regulator approved bids to build what will be the first offshore wind farms that depend entirely on market prices instead of government support and subsidy. The decision by Bundesnetzagentur, or BNetzA, grants power purchase agreements for 1,490 megawatts of wind farms to be built in the North Sea. Developers promised to supply power from the facilities at a record-low weighted average of 4.40 euros ($4.67) a megawatt-hour, less than a tenth of the previous offshore wind deal, the regulator said.

The bids were ‘far below any expectations,’ said BNetzA President Jochen Homann. They’re well beneath the market price for power in Germany, which has fallen 3.8 per cent this year to 30.10 euros a megawatt-hour, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg.”

The Guardian reports that the Netherlands just  “opened what is being billed as one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms, with 150 turbines spinning far out in the North Sea. Over the next 15 years the Gemini windpark, which lies some 85 km (53 miles) off the northern coast of the Netherlands, will meet the energy needs of about 1.5 million people. At full tilt the windpark has a generating capacity of 600 megawatts and will help supply 785,000 Dutch households with renewable energy, according to the company.

“Gemini would contribute about 13 per cent of the country’s total renewable energy supply and about 25 per cent of its wind power”, said the company’s managing director, Matthias Haag to the Guardian. “It would help reduce emissions of carbon-dioxide emissions, among the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, by 1.25m tonnes, the company says.”

In another article the Guardian reports “Renewable energy sources made up nearly nine-tenths of new power added to Europe’s electricity grids last year, in a sign of the continent’s rapid shift away from fossil fuels. But industry leaders said they were worried about the lack of political support beyond 2020, when binding EU renewable energy targets end. Of the 24.5GW of new capacity built across the EU in 2016, 21.1GW – or 86% – was from wind, solar, biomass and hydro, eclipsing the previous high-water mark of 79% in 2014.

For the first time windfarms accounted for more than half of the capacity installed, the data from trade body WindEurope showed. Wind power overtook coal to become the EU’s second largest form of power capacity after gas...Germany installed the most new wind capacity in 2016, while France, the Netherlands, Finland, Ireland and Lithuania all set new records for windfarm installations.”

Compiled by Reinhold Pape


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