Filed under: Conservatism, Domestic Policy, Economy, Energy, Environment, Europe, Liberalism, News, Politics, Science/Technology, Uncategorized | Tags: Congress, Economy, Energy, Environment, Media Bias, Taxes
Denmark is usually cited as the world’s most successful wind-power pioneer. Denmark is a small, flat, windy country with a population of around 5.5 million people. Researchers have put a value on Danish wind energy. They believe that wind power cut $167 million (1 billion kroner) off Danish electricity bills in 2005. Danish consumers, on the other hand paid 1.4 billion kroner for subsidies for wind power.
The trouble with wind is that it doesn’t always blow when you need the electricity, and often blows when you don’t need it. Wind power cannot be stored. Thus you must have electricity constantly available as backup for the times when the wind isn’t blowing.
Denmark relies on their neighbors, Norway and Sweden, and takes their excess production of electricity, and conversely sends it’s excess wind-power generated electricity back to the neighbors. In 2003, the scale of subsidies caught the attention of the media, which claimed that the subsidies were out of control. When subsidies were cut back, the building of wind turbines ground to a halt.
One of the big problems seems to be that where wind is, there are not transmission lines. Often, the wind is far from the grid. Transmission lines run about a million dollars a mile. Most of Denmark’s electricity comes from plants that burn imported coal.
There are some lessons here, which suggest that the “experts” in Congress should get out of the way and let the market find the way. Congress doesn’t do well with making the rules for energy.
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