Denmark’s energy target is unique, both in its ambition as well as its broad political backing. Over the coming decades this shared commitment will be translated into an historic transition of the Danish energy sector. One goal will be to achieve 50% wind penetration in the grid by 2020.
Like other countries, Denmark faces two major global energy challenges: addressing global warming and ensuring security of supply. One answer to these challenges lies in the way we produce and consume energy and in our ability to adapt our society to climate change.
The Danish wind energy sector is a core element in Danish energy policy. The historic agreement of 2012 contains a wide range of ambitious initiatives, bringing Denmark a big step closer to the target of 100 % renewable energy in the energy and transport sectors by 2050. Today, almost 30 % of the electricity produced is already being generated by wind. By 2020, almost 50 % of Danish electricity consumption will be covered by wind power.
At sea, wind resources are better and suitable sites are more readily available. So, an obvious choice is to have a significant proportion of the renewable energy expansion delivered by large, offshore wind farms.
For such a transition to succeed, it is vital to be clear about the environmental impacts of large-scale offshore wind farms. New research has been utilised to improve our screening of new sites and in authorisation of new projects. To provide continued protection to vulnerable marine habitats, it is important to build on the positive experience gained so far.
This follow-up to the Danish environmental monitoring programme on large-scale offshore wind power builds on the result of the former programme and focuses on updated knowledge on harbour porpoises, water birds and fish communities, and on the cumulative effects of wind farms. The scientific quality of the projects in this follow-up has been assessed by experts from the International Advisory Panel of Experts on Marine Ecology (IAPEME), who have commented on the results in an independent evaluation which is reproduced in this publication.
If we are to unlock the true potential of offshore wind power, it is crucial that we employ the best available research in the planning process to minimize the environmental impacts. This new environmental monitoring programme provides us with invaluable insights on the impacts of wind farms on marine flora and fauna. It is our hope that the results of this publication will serve as inspiration for future wind projects.