“The wind is the whisper of our mother the earth. The wind is the hand of our father the sky. So welcome the wind and the wisdom she offers. Follow her summons when she calls again”, John Denver.
In 2014, Denmark, a tiny country of 5.6 million people, revealed one of the most aggressive policies against climate change by any country – to end the burning of fossil fuels in any form by 2050. Although the Danes having invented the modern wind-power industry, and have pursued it more than any country, doubts were expressed for their ambitious policy.
To prove the sceptics wrong, on 6th October 2016, Denmark produced 116% and the next day, 140% of national electricity demands, allowing the country to export power to Norway, German, and Sweden. “It shows that a world powered 100% by renewable energy is no fantasy,” the European Wind Energy Association’s Oliver Joy told The Guardian. “Wind energy and renewables can be a solution to decarbonisation—and also security of supply at times of high demand.”
Denmark has long been a global leader in renewable energy. With almost unanimous political consensus, the Danish population has in recent years pushed aggressively for the installation of new wind farms across the country, with the goal of producing half of its electricity via renewable sources by 2020. Now, the ultimate giant of Denmark has arrived. A 720-foot-tall wind turbine has been installed and has gone on line. Located off the coast of Østeril, this giant windmill has 35 ton blades measuring 262 feet in length, sweep a total area measuring 227,380 square feet. This giant has just set a new world record, producing a 216,000 kWh of energy over a span of 24 hours.
MHI Vestas Offshore Wind—a joint venture between Vestas Wind Systems and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries—revealed the 9 MW prototype in late 2016 and on December, 1st 2016, the machine, named V164-8.0 MW, set the world record, for a commercial offshore wind turbine. Given the success of this test, the company is hoping to increase the energy production of its customer’s fleets, but with fewer turbines and at a lower cost. The new machine is part a broader push to get more value out of offshore wind turbines in general.
Elsewhere, in the United States, some more good news for wind energy, despite all the fear of Trump’s negative policies for renewable energy.The South Fork Wind Farm, a proposed 90-megawatt (MW) wind energy plant to be built off the coast of Long Island, was granted a power-purchase contract from the state-run “This is a big day for clean energy in New York and our nation,” Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski said in a statement. “There is a huge clean energy resource blowing off of our coastline just over the horizon, and it is time to tap into this unlimited resource to power our communities.”
The Department of Energy estimates that the United States has a “technical” offshore wind power capacity of 2,000 gigwatts (GW), or roughly double the electricity generated by all fossil fuel plants in the United States last year.Harnessing even a small fraction of that potential, however, has proven extraordinarily challenging due to a lack of regulation at the state and federal level. While over the past 25 years, European nations have built thousands of offshore turbines in the Baltic and Irish seas, the United States has built five – a long way still to go for the worlds most advanced economy.
When giants like V164-8.0 MW come into town, and when countries like Denmark push technology further, it seems like this will be the answer for clean energy for the planet. Even Bob Dylan said so prophetically when he wrote, ‘The answer my friend is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind.’