Denmark 20 years ahead of Germany, but its offshore energy costs are still too high.
Denmark Using Foreign Grids For RE Balancing: For more than 35 years, Denmark has used the grids of Sweden and Denmark, each with significant hydro-plant capacity, MW, for balancing its excessive energy during high wind energy periods.
As Denmark aims to increase its wind energy from just over 30% of its total generation in 2012 to 50% in 2020, mostly from offshore, Denmark will become an energy exporter during almost all hours of the year, but the wholesale export prices are about 0.25 DKK/kWh x 13 eurocent/DKK = 3.25 eurocent/kWh, whereas offshore wind energy costs about 1.05 DKK x 13 eurocent/DKK = 13.65 eurocent/kWh, 4.2 times greater. Danish climate and energy minister Petersen has threatened to cancel 1,000 MW of offshore wind turbine plants, unless their energy prices are lowered.
The difference in price is via the green electricity tax, the PSO levy, to the tune of 1.3 billion DKK/yr, mostly paid by Danish households, instead of industry, as not to impair industrial competitiveness. How going to 50% wind energy is a wealth generator for Denmark remains a mystery.
At present, the hydro plants of Norway and Sweden act as a balancing and storage utility for Denmark. The more wind energy Denmark generates, the more it needs that "battery". Denmark pays for this by delivering energy at low grid prices and absorbing it at high grid prices. The exact dollar amount appears to be a state secret; it has been estimated at well over 1 billion euros some years ago. As much of the additional Danish wind energy will be offshore, that 1 billion likely will double or triple. Danish households already have the highest electric rates in Europe; 30.45 eurocent/kWh in December 2013.
In 2002, Denmark had so little winds that during 54 days no wind energy was produced, but the wind turbines were consuming energy, a.k.a., parasitic energy, just the same. There likely were an additional 50 or so days with minimal energy production.
Luckily, Denmark's OTHER coal, gas, nuclear, generators, and the hydro plants of Norway and Sweden provided the shortfall, but with Denmark's current annual wind energy percent on the grid, this would be a significantly greater effort.
Whereas, weather systems tend to cover large geographical areas, at that time, the lack of wind energy generation was noticed mostly in Denmark, as other nations had much fewer wind turbines, which would not be the case at present and going forward. Something for many nations to think about for planning purposes.