Denmark made a commitment back in the 1970’s to invest in renewable energy like wind power and develop their own oil and gas reserves when members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries stopped shipping oil to Europe. It was the start of the country’s investments in its energy future.
According to Wikipedia: On 29 March 1985, one year before the Chernobyl disaster, the Danes passed a law forbidding the construction of nuclear power plants. In the process the Danish grassroots movement had a substantial role. The Danish Anti-nuclear Movement’s (OOA) smiling-sun logo “Atomkraft, Nej Tak” (“Nuclear Power, No Thanks”) spread world-wide, and the renewable alternatives were promoted by the Danish Organisation for Renewable Energy (OVE).
In 1991, Denmark had installed their first wind turbine, today, the country is home to 13 wind farms, more than 300 wind power companies and employs over 25,000 people in the industry. Not surprisingly, the largest wind energy manufacturers are located in Denmark (Vestas and Siemens).
By 2014, wind power made up almost 40% of the country’s energy requirements and 4,792MW of capacity. Some of the country’s success in wind can be attributed to the fact that they are surrounded by water and high wind speeds (approx. 8.5–9.0 m/s at 50 m height).
According to Denmark’s website: Danes are positive about wind power. Recent surveys show that most of the population would welcome more wind energy in the electricity system. Denmark is also a progressive country in its energy policy, which supports an increase in renewable energy – and wind in particular. Political support rests on the fact that onshore wind power is cost competitive with any type of newly built electricity generating technology and that wind is inexhaustible, stable and forever free-of-charge. Based on the above factors, the wind industry today is part of the backbone of the export earnings of the Danish economy.
Denmark continues on its path to become a green and sustainable country, and this ideology is embedded in all facets of life, including the daily commute. Around 40% of the capital’s population bike to work each day!
Many countries around the world should take a closer look at the great work Denmark has done for the environment and see if they can replicate some of that success.