#3 :: Catching the Winds of Change

Offshore wind turbines in Denmark. Photo by Doug Murray.
Offshore wind turbines in Denmark. Photo by Doug Murray.
Denmark was hit as hard as the rest of the world by the 1970s oil crisis. Now it‘s a net exporter of energy. The country achieved this turnaround through government incentives for local, cooperative energy production, especially wind power. Today, nearly 20 percent of Danish energy comes from wind turbines, about 80 percent of which are owned by small cooperatives or individuals. Wind energy employs more than 20,000 people, and turbine exports bring in $3.4 billion a year. According to the World Alliance for Decentralized Energy, 50 percent of Denmark‘s energy comes from renewable sources. For the U.S., the figure is 9 percent. Above, wind turbines off the coast near Copenhagen. —Catherine Bailey