Off shore wind farms – an urban energy solution ?

Off shore wind farms

Off shore wind farms

Can off shore wind farms be an urban energy solution ? and what has the Island Samsø and Copenhagen in common ?

The Island Samsø is the first Island in Denmark to be net independent of fossil fuels (on annual basis) – and hundreds of energy experts from all over the world have travelled to Samsø to learn  how did they it and see with own eyes

I will mention 3 important factors :

  • The co-operation between the people to develop efficent and smart solutions, not least district heating and wind farms
  • District heating in uran areas based on the available low carbon sources
  • Off shore wind farms financed by  local people

Thereby the heating in the towns have become CO2 neutral and the electricity production from the wind exceeds the remaining energy consumption for power, heating and traffic. Taking into account that the energy value of electricity is larger than the value of fuels, it is even more than CO2 neutral, however the wind is fluctuating, so the island is still dependant of the power grid.

Copenhagen has a vision to be net independent of fossil fuels in 2025. This vision is mainly based on the same factors.

Copenhagen has already 98 % of all buildings connected to the district heating grid and a large share of the production is already based on waste and biomass CHP. Therefore it will possible to be 100% independent for the heating sector within a few years. Bicycles, public transport and electric cars will also help, however there will still remain a demand for fossil fuels and not least for electricity.  Therefore investments in off shore wind farms in the Baltic Sea near Copenhagen will be an obvious solution. Although Copenhagen is not yet  independent of fossil fuels, the efficient district heating in the region and the bicycles have inspired many visitors in the past 25 years.

Off shore wind farms are in fact one of the most obvious and cost effective CO2 neutral urban energy solution – for two reasons:

  • It is the most cost effective solution for producing electricity based on renewable energy and it would be many times more expensive and even impossible to produce the same amount of electricity with building level wind turbines or solar cells.
  • The district heating and district cooling including storages, CHP plants and large heat pumps will help to integrate the wind energy in the energy system

This is probably the two most important features of the “intelligent power grid”, namely

  • that it can transfer renewable energy from “near by” wind farms to supply buildings  in urban areas and
  • that the district energy system is the most “intelligent electricity consumer”.