The entire world could be powered by one deep-sea wind farm stretching across the North Atlantic.
Building a renewable energy project the size of India across the ocean would allow the entire world to get access to sustainable energy and fulfil its needs – according to a major new study.
There are likely to be very significant hurdles to building such a major project – especially one that would require international cooperation and incredible levels of investment.
But it would also allow people to get access to vast amounts of energy: at least more efficiently than onshore wind power.
The two researchers found that if a wind farm were built across three million square kilometres of the ocean it would account for roughly the equivalent of all energy used today.
Denmark produced 42% of its electricity from wind turbines last year according to official data – the highest figure yet recorded worldwide.
The new year-end figures showed a 3% rise on 2014 which was itself a record year for Danish wind energy generation.
The country’s minister for energy utilities and climate Lars Christian Lilleholt called the record significant and said: ‘Hopefully Denmark can serve as an example to other countries that it is possible to have both ambitious green policies with a high proportion of wind energy and other renewables in the energy supply and still have a high security of supply and competitive prices on electricity’.
Two Western Danish regions – Jutland and Funen – supplied more electricity than the area’s inhabitants consumed for the equivalent of 60 days of the year.
‘The fact that we are now generating surplus power 16% of the time in the Western Danish power grid illustrates that… we can benefit from imports and exports across borders to an even greater extent’ said Carsten Vittrup – an adviser to Energinet – Denmark’s transmissions systems operator.
On an unusually windy day Denmark found itself producing 116% of its national electricity needs from wind turbines yesterday evening. By 3am on Friday when electricity demand dropped that figure had risen to 140%.
Interconnectors allowed 80% of the power surplus to be shared equally between Germany and Norway – which can store it in hydropower systems for use later. Sweden took the remaining fifth of excess power.
‘It shows that a world powered 100% by renewable energy is no fantasy’ said Oliver Joy – a spokesman for trade body the European Wind Energy Association. ‘Wind energy and renewables can be a solution to decarbonisation – and also security of supply at times of high demand’.
The figures emerged on the website of the Danish transmission systems operator energinet.dk which provides a minute-by-minute account of renewable power in the national grid. The site shows that Denmark’s windfarms were not even operating at their full 4.8GW capacity at the time of yesterday’s peaks.