Associate Professor, Aalborg University

Posts by webeditor

Wind Power and Pylons: Adding Facts to an Emotional Debate

Wind Power and Pylons: Adding Facts to an Emotional Debate

on May 1, 2014

The debate around wind power and pylons seems to have taken on a life of its own in Ireland in recent months. There also seems to be a lot of references to wind power and Denmark in the debate, which is very interesting to hear considering my experiences in both countries (I completed my PhD in Ireland on energy planning and I moved to Denmark in 2011 to take up my current job as an Assistant Professor in Energy Planning). Therefore, I would like to add some context to the ‘wind=pylons’ debate in Ireland, based on my experiences with both the Irish and Danish energy systems.   So what are pylons really for? The reason we are discussing pylons in Ireland is to expand the capacity of the electricity grid. This is necessary for a number of short- and long-term reasons. In brief, a few examples I can think of are 1) electricity demand, 2) aging infrastructure 3) wind turbines, 4) new electricity demands for heating and 5) electric cars. Hence, with or without wind turbines, we will need to decide how we would like to expand our electricity grid.   Are there any alternatives to pylons? Yes, the alternative to pylons are underground cables.   How much will the alternative cost? Underground cables cost more to construct than overhead pylons, with this report suggesting that it is 3 times more expensive (see page 61). There is a justified argument that these additional construction costs can be counteracted by the reduced visual impact of the cables. For example, the cables can reduce property prices and tourism to an area. However, these are difficult costs to quantify and I am not aware any study that has done so.   Is it possible to develop wind power without pylons? Yes. Wind power is not directly connected to overhead pylons. Denmark has the world’s largest percentage of wind power and the plan in Denmark is to underground its electricity grid using cables. Denmark is planning to underground 75% of its electricity grid in the future, see page 16 of this report and look under the headings “track” in table 5.1.1., while the other aim in Denmark is to have 50% wind power...

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Smart Energy Systems

Smart Energy Systems

on Apr 23, 2014

A Smart Energy System is defined by the following key principals: It is a 100% renewable energy system It consumes a sustainable level of bioenergy It utilises the synergies in the energy system to maximise efficiency and reduce costs It is affordable. In other words, it does not significantly increase the cost of energy compared to a fossil fuel based energy system (sometimes it can reduce the cost and maximum increases of up to 10-15% are expected) We have just updated the description and literature relating to the Smart Energy System in the Sustainable Energy Planning Research Group. Check it out here: http://www.energyplan.eu/smartenergysystems/. This includes video I created describing the key principals in a Smart Energy System:...

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US-DK Summer School 2014

US-DK Summer School 2014

on Nov 11, 2013

California And Denmark Are Leading The World In Renewable Energy Solutions Workshop Dates: July 21-August 15, 2014 Apply Now or Find Out More Eligibility Graduate and advanced undergraduate students. Must be enrolled in a university at time of application. Must have completed an introductory renewable course (similar to EE80J at UC Santa Cruz; see website).   The challenges posed by global climate changes, scarce natural resources, and the volatility of the international energy market require targeted action towards finding technologically, economically and socially viable solutions based on renewable energy (RE) sources. The US-Denmark Summer Workshop on Renewable Energy is a unique educational initiative developed by leading universities in Denmark and California. The four-week workshop starts with one week of online preparation and continues with three weeks of lectures, seminars and field trips in California. Participants will learn about the economics, politics, science, and technology behind RE implementation from leading experts, while exploring communities and relevant energy sites where such technology is in place or currently being implemented. The interdisciplinary approach and holistic perspective allows students with various academic backgrounds to interact and develop concrete final project ideas, while targeting today’s energy problems from different...

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