Denmark, a world pioneer in the offshore wind power, plans to expand its renewable energy portfolio with the world’s first “energy islands.”
The plans have long been discussed in Denmark, but they have now been hastened due to the energy market volatility caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Denmark is thus accelerating the construction of the energy islands to wean itself off Russian energy.
Dan Jrgensen, Denmark’s Minister of Climate, Energy, and Utilities, said in a statement that Denmark and Europe “must be free of Russian fossil fuels as soon as possible.” To reach this goal, the country will speed up its energy transition by massively increasing the deployment of renewable energy on land and at sea.
Wind energy dominates Denmark’s energy mix, accounting for over half of total electricity output in the country by 2021, followed by bioenergy and fossil fuels – some of which were imported from Russia. However, the government has stated that it hopes to end Russian fossil fuel imports as soon as possible.
The energy islands thus play a crucial role. Denmark now obtains its energy from ocean winds via isolated offshore wind farm. With the energy islands, wind turbines can be located farther away from the shore and the power they generate can be distributed more efficiently between many countries.
The plan calls for the construction of two islands. One will be located in the North Sea and will initially serve facilities for 3 GW of offshore wind farms before being expanded to 10 GW. The second one is the island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, which will have a capacity of 2 GW, equivalent to two million households.
The islands will serve as hubs, collecting electricity from nearby offshore wind farms and distributing it to the Danish grid as well as directly to other countries. This enables electricity from a location with abundant wind resources to be more easily channeled to places in most demand, resulting in increased energy efficiency.
Denmark has a long history of utilizing the strong winds from the sea to generate electricity, with the first offshore wind farm constructed in 1991. With the construction of these two large energy islands, the country intends to take another significant step forward in developing renewable energy and reducing its dependency on fossil fuels.