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Wind turbines for power in Denmark
Viewed from the United States or Asia, Denmark is an environmental role model.

About one-fifth of the Denmark's electricity comes from wind, which wind experts say is the highest proportion of any country.

A closer look shows that Denmark is a far cry from a clean-energy paradise.

The building of wind turbines has virtually ground to a halt since subsidies were cut back.

Meanwhile, compared with others in the European Union, Danes remain above-average emitters of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

For all of its wind turbines, a large proportion of the rest of Denmark's power is generated by plants that burn imported coal.

The Danish experience shows how difficult it can be for countries grown rich on fossil fuels to switch to renewable energy sources like wind power.

Among the hurdles are fluctuating political priorities, the high cost of putting new turbines offshore, concern about public acceptance of large wind turbines, and the destructive volatility of the wind itself.

Some parts of western Denmark derive 100 percent of their peak needs from wind if the breeze is up.

Germany and Spain generate more power in absolute terms, but in those countries wind still accounts for a far smaller proportion of the electricity generated. The average for all 27 European Union countries is three percent.

The Germans and the Spanish are catching up as Denmark slows down.

—Excerpts compiled from "Denmark meets hurdles on its course to a power solution"
by James Kanter; Internationl Herald Tribune; March 22, 2007; page 13.