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Danish Wind Energy

December 21, 2009|

On a tour of the Middelgrunden offshore wind farm off the coast of Copenhagen, Anja Pedersen, an adviser to the Danish Wind Industry Association, describes the scale, benefits and public attitude toward wind energy in Denmark. Denmark produces more than one-fifth of all its electricity with about 5,000 windmills. The country produces by far the largest share of its electrical power with wind of any country in the world, enough wind power to supply every Danish house at the period of peak demand on a windy day. Middelgrunden, an arc of 20 turbines about 2 miles long, was the largest wind farm in the world when it was built in 2000. The tips of its turbines reach 330 feet above sea level. Each of the windmill's three blades is about the same length as the wing of a Boeing 747; yet the device makes almost no sound at all, even directly underneath it. Middelgrunden's turbines each have a capacity of 40 MW; together they produce 3% of the electricity used by Copenhagen.

Denmark's energy plans call for the country to generate 50% of its electricity with wind within the next 15 years. Pedersen says people in Denmark are accustomed to windmills. She says that opinion polls find that the people who live closest to windmills there are most likely to favor them.

This story was reported for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting as part of the Copenhagen News Collaborative, a cooperative project of several independent news organizations. Check out the feed here from Mother Jones.