Beware! Mainers Went to Denmark to Learn

Mainers recently went to Denmark to learn how to get off oil.  

You might have seen the news about the Grow Smart Maine trip in search of climate solutions. They will talk about it at their October 20 Annual Meeting in Biddeford.

They said their inquiries would focus on fossil fuel reduction and energy, but the itinerary and the "What We've Learned" article they published upon return show that the curriculum was almost exclusively about electricity.

Electricity is a shambles in Denmark, so hopefully our Maine pilgrims (including some legislators) were taking notes on what NOT to do, such as: 

1.  See the Danish equivalent of ISO Express (real time dashboard). As of 60 seconds ago electricity consumption was almost 50% imports from Norway, Sweden and Germany.

2.  Imports are critical to Denmark’s attempted use of renewables. It's feast or famine with wind energy, which results in Net Imports.

 3.  Denmark now has the highest electricity rates in all of the EU.

See Energinet’s (the national grid operator) 2014 Annual Report.

One only need to peruse the first 25-30 pages to get a feel for all of their problems. Denmark’s present power market is in a state of dysfunction and instability. Power disruptions are commonplace. If they can’t import enough power during high peak periods they don’t have enough domestic conventional capacity to keep the lights on. Demand Response//curtailment is their only remaining option. They claim that wind provides 40% of the country’s power yet 29% of total generation is exported while 37.5% of total consumption is imported (document page 15). 

Entering this century Denmark claimed their objective was to become energy independent and self-sufficient. They are now pushing as hard as they can for far more cooperation in power markets amongst the EU. They need buyers for their wind power when they can’t use it, and they need imported power sources when they can’t produce enough of their own power. Norway routinely cuts them off when their hydro pumped storage falls below thresholds the Norwegians consider safe to sustain their own grid. 

Energinet no longer reports their actual performance with meeting their Kyoto CO2 quota for power generation. The last time they reported was for 2012, when they missed their target then by 17.6%. The only way Denmark meets hypothetical compliance now is by generating excess emissions credits from increased capacity in renewables which is primarily off-shore wind. 

Denmark has always claimed that they were on the leading edge of going green since the early 1990’s. Based on their experience going green means skyrocketing prices, grid instability and unreliability and curtailment of consumption in order to keep from increasing their emissions.  

There is a positive note about the Grow Smart trip.  Maine CO2 emissions from Transportation are more than QUADRUPLE our CO2 emissions from Electricity.  The folks from Maine report that they did some bicycle riding while in Denmark.  Now THERE's a "solution" for Maine!