In a world grappling with the urgent need for sustainable energy solutions, Denmark is taking a significant step towards maximizing the potential of its wind farms. Green Power Denmark, a prominent advocate for renewable energy, applauds the decision by the Danish Energy Agency to resume processing applications for the extension of the operational lifetimes of existing offshore wind farms. This move aligns with Denmark’s commitment to combating climate change and underscores the importance of “repowering” in the global pursuit of cleaner and greener energy sources.

The Danish Energy Agency had temporarily halted the processing of these applications on February 1, pending a thorough examination of potential legal issues within the European Union (EU). After a detailed review conducted in collaboration with the State Aid Secretariat, the Ministry of Climate, Energy, and Supply concluded that extending the electricity production licenses for established offshore wind farms did not violate EU law.

In a letter dated 9 November 2023, the European Affairs Committee asked Lars Aagaard, Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities, to receive information whether the Middelgrunden Offshore Wind Farm can continue to operate after 2025.

Lars Aagaard answered in a letter to the European Affairs Committee on 8th December in the following way: “it’s an unfortunate situation when green projects get stuck in legal hurdles like this. (…) I am therefore very pleased to inform you [European Affairs Committee] that the Danish Energy Agency and the Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities, in cooperation with other authorities, have assessed that any extensions of the electricity production license, so-called lifetime extensions, for offshore wind farms are not in breach of EU law, which is why the Danish Energy Agency is resuming the case processing of the six pending applications for lifetime extensions, including for Middelgrunden Offshore Wind Farm”

Further, the Minister confirmed that DEA has informed the relevant players/installers that their application for lifetime extension will be reopened.

Green Power Denmark views this development as a crucial step toward meeting the escalating demand for green power amid the ongoing climate crisis and geopolitical challenges such as the war in Ukraine. Camilla Holbech, Head of Department for Renewable Energy and International Cooperation at Green Power Denmark, emphasizes the vital role of well-functioning wind farms in supplying climate-friendly power for an extended period.

“In light of the climate crisis and the war in Ukraine, Denmark and Europe need to be able to produce as much green energy as possible as quickly as possible,” says Holbech. “It is therefore gratifying that, after a long period of reflection, the authorities have now decided to resume processing all applications for life extension. It is also in line with the EU’s requirement that the countries create clear frameworks and fast permit processes for repowering projects”adds Camilla Holbech.

The five offshore wind farms in question—Middelgrunden, Horns Rev, Rønland, Samsø, and Nysted Offshore wind farm—are at the forefront of this initiative. Green Power Denmark refers to this process as “repowering,” where well-operating wind farms can continue to generate climate-friendly power beyond their initially planned lifetimes. This approach is recognized internationally for its potential to enhance the efficiency and sustainability of existing renewable energy infrastructure.

Despite the positive momentum, crucial questions remain unanswered for owners and developers involved in these wind farms. Holbech emphasizes the need for clarity regarding the final framework for repowering at sea and the procedures for obtaining permission for full repowering, including life extensions or the complete replacement of previously tendered parks.

The Danish Energy Agency’s decision to resume processing applications for lifetime extensions reflects a commitment to fostering a conducive environment for renewable energy projects. As Denmark navigates this critical juncture in its pursuit of green energy, the global community watches closely, recognizing the importance of such initiatives in creating a more sustainable future.

Source: Green Power Denmark, Danish Energy Agency