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Case study

The Grid: Integrating high shares of variable renewable energy into the grid: lessons from the world leader / Denmark Implementation Measures

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Case summary

Denmark is the global forerunner in the deployment of wind energy for electricity generation and one of the world’s leaders in the deployment of renewable energies. Several factors have beencrucial to ensure this leading position in the wind energy sector.

First, the Danish government adopted ambitious and legally binding renewable energy targets,energy support schemes and detailed technical regulations to promote and faciliate the deployment of wind energy. Second, the county introduced a number of flexibility mechanisms for conventionalpower plants to adjust to the entry of wind energy into the power market. Third, Denmar liberalized its power market allowing smaller firms and renewable energy producers to enter the market. Fourth, Denmark decided to join a cross-country power market with other Scandinavian countries and Germany to sell excess wind power at times of strong winds and buy electricity at times when wind production is low. Fifth, the country set up an advanced wind forecasting system to get real-time estimates on how much wind energy can be fed into the grid.

The way in which Denmark has managed to integrate increasing shares of wind energy into the grid has been characterised by strong political commitment, long term planning and a high level of transparency. The country is an example for other countries with regard to how to create a well functioningelectricity market that is able to cushion the variable character of wind energy. From the 1970s until today, Denmark is a pioneer and global leader in the system integration of variable
renewable energy and it has the highest share of wind energy for electricity generation worldwide.And Denmark is committed to retain its leading position: it pursues world-leading targets for the decades to come (inter alia to meet at least 50 % of energy demand with renewable energy by 2030 and complete independence from fossil fuels by 2050) and is convincingly on track to meet the latter through its ambitious policies (IEA, 2017b).

Institutions involved

Danish Ministry of Energy, Utility and Climate, Danish Energy Agency, Danish Energy Regulatory.
Agency, Energinet (Transmission System Operator), grid companies, Nord Pool.

Results supported byUNDPWorld Resources InstituteTransparency partnership