From pioneering work to billion-euro industry
25 years ago, pioneers from the former Elkraft power company experimented with placing wind turbines in the low waters. In the summer of 1991, 11 small wind turbines named ‘Vindeby wind farm’ supplied the first offshore wind energy to the Danish power grid. It marked the beginning of an industrial growth adventure which has positioned Denmark as the world leader in constructing and operating offshore wind turbines. Today, Elkraft is a part of DONG Energy – the company having built most offshore wind farms in the world – and whose strategy is to supply green electricity to 16 million Europeans by 2020.
"Vindeby was the humble beginning of a Danish industry which today has approx. 30,000 employees, revenue of approx. DKK 90bn and exports to the tune of DKK 60bn. But after 25 years of operation, the Vindeby turbines are worn down, and we're therefore preparing to retire the wind farm," says Leif Winther, who is responsible for DONG Energy's Danish offshore wind farms.
Companies can get a head start
Prior to the dismantling, DONG Energy invites dialogue on the use of the infrastructure built up around the park:
Leif Winther said: "There are cables with an associated substation onshore, and it might be interesting for companies interested in renewable energy. We would like to enter into dialogue with them prior to dismantling the wind farm." He also sees other perspectives in the dismantling of Vindeby:
"In future, other and much larger offshore wind farms will also have to be taken down. How to do that most efficiently and with the greatest possible consideration for the environment is still uncharted territory. In this context, Danish companies can perhaps get a head start, just as they did when we started the expansion of wind power."