EU approves Danish support for offshore windfarm

By The Associated Press

The European Union's antitrust chief said Tuesday that the bloc's executive Commission has approved Danish government subsidies for a large proposed offshore windfarm in the Danish section of the Baltic Sea.

This September 9. 2013 shows wind turbines at Flakfortet near Copenhagen. The EU's antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, said Tuesday March 28, 2017 that the bloc’s executive Commission has approved Denmark's support for a proposed 600 MW offshore windfarm in the Danish section of the Baltic Sea, near German windmills.(Jens Dresling/Polfoto File via AP)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's antitrust chief said Tuesday that the bloc's executive Commission has approved Danish government subsidies for a large proposed offshore windfarm in the Danish section of the Baltic Sea.

EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the aid for the Kriegers Flak windfarm was in line with European Union guidelines because "it helps the EU to meet its energy and climate targets."

The Commission said the support would be granted as a premium on top of the electricity price in the Nord-Pool market, Europe's leading power market. The windfarm will be operated by Sweden's public Vattenfall energy company.

The 600-turbine project will be Denmark's largest offshore windfarm, and is expected to be operational by 2021. It will be connected to two German offshore windfarms, allowing for increased electricity exchanges between the two countries.

The Danish part of Kriegers Flak would cover 80 square kilometers (72 square miles), and the project is expected to produce enough electricity for about 600,000 households.

The EU wanted to check whether Danish state aid for the project would hurt competition.

Separately, the EU's science service, the Joint Research Center, said the bloc was making "considerable progress" in the renewable energy market.

The center noted that the capacity of wind-powered generators worldwide more than doubled between 2010 and 2015. It cited the development last year of the first ocean energy farms to launch off Portugal as an example of the positive trend.

Research by the center showed that all of the EU's wind energy capacity — which accounts for one-third of the global total — is connected to the grid, making Europe the global leader in supplying wind energy. The EU also leads the world in offshore windfarms, with about 90 percent of all newly completed projects in the world.

"We remain on the right track in our goal to provide clean energy for all Europeans," said Maros Sefcovic, vice president of the EU's Energy Union.

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