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Monday, 2 July, 2001, 07:47 GMT 08:47 UK
Europe discusses wind power
Wind farm
Denmark produces 10% of its energy from wind
By BBC Science's Julian Siddle in Copenhagen

Denmark, which has pioneered the use of wind energy as an alternative to fossil fuels, is hosting a major conference on the subject.

The European Wind Energy Conference in the capital Copenhagen brings together wind turbine manufacturers and politicians looking at alternatives to conventional power generation.

Gas power station in the UK
Wind could replace conventional fuels such as gas
Monday's meeting comes just weeks before a major environmental summit in Bonn where European leaders will look at ways to reduce emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide - which are produced by conventional coal, oil or gas power stations - but not wind turbines.

Denmark currently produces about 10% of its electricity from wind energy and is home to the world's largest offshore wind power station.

Role model

Soren Krohn, chairman of the Danish Wind Turbine Manufacturer's Association, said the country was a model for the rest of the world.

"If we look at the typical winter night in the western part of Denmark, we have already experienced up to 50% of the electricity consumption coming from wind," Mr Krohn said.

"And it is indeed possible to run the electrical grid with this amount of wind power in the grid - something which people believed 20 or 30 years ago would be impossible," he added.

But there are many issues surrounding wind power.

It is still heavily subsidised, and in terms of output, many hundreds of wind turbines are needed to produce the same quantity of electricity as a conventional power station.

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