E.U. Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard responds to CFACT
April 23, 2010
CFACT’s response: Let’s not go back to the dark ages.
CFACT has been participating in an energy debate sponsored by the National Journal.
Commissioner Hedegaard wrote:
“Craig Rucker claims that had it not been for Denmark’s oil in the North Sea we could not afford “such feel good luxuries” as renewables like wind. Wrong. Back in 1973 Denmark experienced two oil crises and the last one, when Saudi Arabia cut off oil deliveries, was so bad that it was necessary to prohibit driving private cars on Sundays. I remember this from my childhood. Can you imagine that? That was at a time where we were 99 % dependent on imported energy. Today Denmark is self-sufficient in energy, and has been for many years already. Oil and gas supplies from the North Sea are part of the explanation but definitely also the fact that today around 30 % of Denmark’s electricity stems from wind energy. AND since putting up the first wind turbine back in the mid 70s Denmark has developed a world brand in wind technology. That means not only that the wind sector today creates thousands and thousands of jobs, often mainly in rural areas, but also that is one of our fastest growing export areas, earning billions for Denmark. The sector continued to grow its exports even in the crisis year 2009.”
Here’s Craig Rucker’s response to the Commissioner:
Commissioner Hedegaard reminded us of the restrictions we all faced during the Arab oil embargo of the 1970’s. This is a poignant reminder of the importance of developing our domestic energy resources and those of our allied democracies. Commissioner Hedegaard will surely concede that Denmark’s done quite a bit of offshore drilling during the last three decades and has benefited thereby. The United States should follow that example.
Denmark’s foot prints are not always ones, however, we can recommend others follow. Danish workers carry one of the highest tax burdens in the free world. When you include taxpayer subsidies for wind turbines, Danish families pay among the highest energy prices in Europe. According to the September 2009 study by the Danish Center for Political Studies (CEPOS), the intermittent nature of wind power has forced Denmark to export around half of its wind generated electricity to its neighbors at a loss and made up shortfalls by importing vast amounts of power from those same neighbors. The electricity Denmark exports saves no CO2 emissions as the power it replaces is generated by carbon neutral means. It’s a good thing the perils of CO2 have been exaggerated.
Danish wind power will not alter the climate. If Denmark scrapped its wind turbines tomorrow its power grid would quickly adapt. Its taxpayers, however, would breathe a lot easier. If Denmark cut off its oil and gas, it would find itself in a dark age of a different variety than that endured by the brave Danes of the Viking era. Let’s not go back.