Sunday, 20 September 2015

Energy Minister shows he is out of his depth

He said Denmark, which generates 140 per cent of its energy needs through wind energy, had 5,000 turbines, compared with the Republic’s 1,450, despite having half the land mass - Minister For Energy, Alex White, September 2015.
Denmark generated 140% during one night. The following morning they were barely getting any of their energy needs from wind, with Denmark reliant on imports from Norway and Sweden :

Source: PF Bach

The implication given by the Energy Minister was that Denmark is generating 140% of its needs from wind all the time. This is an ignorant view and shows he is way too far out of his depth to be deciding energy policy at this time.

Denmark is also unique in that it can easily import and export to Norway, who have large amounts of the most suitable back-up for wind, namely hydro.

The UK do not want our wind. They have said as much. 

And France will not want our wind either. Nuclear plants cannot be ramped up and down like hydro. So Ireland will have to dump all its excess wind. Ireland does not have access to a Nordic type back up system so why is the Minister making comparisons with Denmark at all ?

Maros Sefcovic, vice president of the European Commission in charge of energy union, also spoke about how the integration of Europe’s energy markets, billed as the biggest transformation since the pooling of coal and steel production in the 1950s, had been accelerated by the West’s increasingly fractious relationship with Russia, which supplies most of continent’s natural gas.
While Germany and Italy are dependent on Russian gas, Ireland get's its gas mostly from Norway and the Netherlands. 


  1. Good investigative work by the Irish Energy Blog to sniff out the truth behind the 140% headline figure. Yet another example of partial truths being used out of context to justify dodgy policies!
    Paul-Frederik Bach comments that the Nordpool spot prices were used for an estimate of the cost of the balancing services during the 72 hours from 09 to 11 July 2015. For 38 hours Denmark had a net export of 28,707 MWh at an average value of €4.36/MWh. For the remaining 34 hours Denmark had a net import of 48,740 MWh at an average value of €20.98/MWh.
    Denmark was selling cheap and buying dear. Precisely what this blog has been warning the Irish consumer is the probable outcome of the flawed Irish energy policy, a policy that is rooted in a long term plan (the NREAP) that lacked proper evaluation from the outset.
    He goes on to say that there must be an optimal policy to Danish consumers of heat and electricity, but this consideration has been ignored in favour of a policy aiming at reducing the use of fossil fuels. The result is a decreasing use of CHP and a rapidly increasing cost of subsidies for renewable energy (the PSO tariff).
    Readers will be pleased to know that the Irish CER has now made his decision on the PSO Levy 2015/16 which provides €180.9 million of a subsidy to renewables (i.e., wind). The decision can be viewed at

    1. Thats a good point, Norway didnt need Denmark's wind as much as Denmark needed Norway's hydro. We are constantly been told that we can export our wind, but we are never told at what price. Well here we have our answer. But since its not the answer that suits the establishment, they tend not to use Denmark as an example in this case.

  2. With wind/renewable, it is hard to know if people like Alex White are being disingenuous or just do not understand their folly.

    Of course a barrister with a current affairs background in RTE is suitable to be assessing decisions that cost billions for the country. Barristers are the smartest people in Ireland and are particularly strong outside their area of expertise - just look at the great job Dermot Gleeson did while chairman of AIB.