Wind energy will continue to play a significant role in moving Danish and European energy systems in a sustainable direction, with a substantial contribution from renewable energy sources. Despite generally strong public support for wind energy, concerns about and opposition to wind-turbine installations are not infrequent. This contributes to longer project lead-times, often raises costs, and leads to some projects being shelved altogether. Such delays and the uncertainty about return on investment increase the risk for project developers and investors and counteract industry efforts to drive down the cost of energy (LCOE) for wind power.
The present strategy deals with the environmental impact of wind-energy systems and points at possible technological innovations, as well as knowledge gaps, related to reducing the impact on the environment. The report addresses the environmental impact of onshore as well as offshore projects, and emphasises aspects where research and technological development may increase understanding and mitigate the environmental impact of wind turbines.
The strategy will contribute to maintaining and expanding Denmark’s position as the hub of leading global companies and research institutions in the field of wind energy, and help them be the first to deliver competitive wind-energy solutions to the leading wind-energy markets.
Geographically, the strategy focuses on Denmark and northern Europe; however, because the Danish wind industry operates globally and many environmental aspects are cross-border, international aspects are included where relevant.
The strategy is limited to commercial wind turbines and does not include household turbines.
International and cross-border initiatives
In 2015, Denmark, through the Danish Energy Agency, initiated an Intergovernmental Offshore Wind Forum, which invites authorities from all European countries to take part. Two issues in particular have been discussed: models for tendering offshore wind farms and – relevant to this strategy – knowledge of the environmental impact of offshore wind energy and ways to protect the environment. So far, four meetings, during which state-of-the-art knowledge was shared, have been held in Copenhagen, London, Paris, and Amsterdam.
The offshore working group of Wind Europe (previously the European Wind Energy Association) is another international forum for collaboration. Relevant in this context, the working group has issued a series of Research Notes covering offshore wind energy and the environment.
The main recommendations are listed in the next section in order of importance. More details are provided in the sections that follow.