Energy

Denmark Cancels All Coastal Wind Turbines To Save Taxpayers $1 Billion

REUTERS/Bob Strong

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

Denmark’s’ right-wing government has moved to cancel all offshore wind farms in a bid to lower costly green taxes levied on Danes’ electric bills.

“When I think back on the energy agreement from 2012, it was a mistake that we agreed to build the coastal wind turbines,” Climate and Energy Minister Lars Christian Lilleholt said Tuesday.

Lilleholt announced he would cancel all coastal wind turbines that were supposed to be built in 2012, and has promised to replace these projects with offshore wind turbines in 2025 as part of the country’s plan to lower energy bills — which are among the highest in Europe.

“For me there is no doubt that an offshore wind farm located far out at sea will be a much better solution,” Lilleholt said, adding that offshore wind turbines will be far enough from the coast to not mar ocean views.

Lilleholt said cancelling coastal wind farms would save taxpayers $1 billion, or 7 billion Krones, since green energy projects are financed by a hefty tax on Danish electricity bills. Recent reports show green taxes make up two-thirds of Danish electric bills.

Cancelling coastal wind turbines is part of Denmark’s plan to cut citizens’ electricity bills, which are already much higher than neighboring European countries. Denmark’s government recently moved to cancel five offshore wind farms to save taxpayers more than $10 billion.

“Since 2012 when we reached the political agreement, the cost of our renewable policy has increased dramatically,” Lilleholt said May.

“We can’t accept this, as the private sector and households are paying far too much. Denmark’s renewable policy has turned out to be too expensive,” Lilleholt said.

For years, Denmark has been held up as a poster child for green energy development. The country now gets 40 percent of its electricity from wind power, but that huge increase in green energy has come at a hefty cost.

“You are taxed six times as much for the electricity that comes into your electric heat pumps to warm up your house than you are of the oil you can pour in your oil-fired boiler. That makes people choose less energy-effective solutions,” Lars Aagaard, the Danish Energy Association’s CEO, told The Local DK.

But the wind industry is furious with Denmark’s decision to lessen the burden on taxpayers. They say the policy reversal has hurt Denmark’s reputation as a pro-wind energy country.

“Political uncertainty is poison,” Jan Serup Hylleberg, the CEO of Denmark’s Wind Association, told Bloomberg. “It’s more of a headache to investors than predicting how the wind will blow.”

But Danish politicians aren’t moved by the wind industry’s complaints. The country’s right-wing government says it’s not a good idea to burden taxpayers with billions of dollars to pay for wind turbines.

“You have to remember this is a billion-figure cost that we’re passing on to the Danes,” said Kristian Thulesen Dahl, the head of the Danish People’s Party.

“While some investors may be annoyed by the fact that they won’t make as much money, that’s no biggie, it’s just business,” he said. “We also have a responsibility to discuss the costs we impose on Danes over the next 10 year.”

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