The big wind news of the past year that we keep trumpeting is that US wind power accounted for more new US power capacity in 2012 than coal (which actually declined), natural gas, nuclear, solar, or anything else. It made up 42% of new power capacity additions in the US last year.
But another huge wind power stat from Denmark
is also worthy of a trumpet or two. Wind provided enough electricity for over 30% of Denmark’s electricity consumption
by the end of 2012. That’s actually a much bigger deal than it may sound if you aren’t familiar with the nuances of this market sector. While the 42% of new capacity figure above is pretty impressive, that’s just new capacity, not total capacity. Furthermore, wind is more variable than conventional power options, so a lower percentage of its capacity is utilized throughout the year. Wind still accounts for just 3–4% of electricity production in the US, and the target is to hit 20% by 2030
. So, with that context, I think you can see that Denmark’s figure is very impressive. Pull out your trumpet!
And this isn’t the end of the line for Denmark. The Scandinavian country has actually set a goal to get 50% of its electricity needs from wind power by 2020 (it appears to be well on its way there), and is aiming for 100% renewable energy by 2050.