What can President Trump learn from the Danes? Answer provided by Ida Auken
“If it doesn’t blow, you can forget about television for that night”. This remark on wind farms by Donald Trump is just one of many in his attempt to derogate green energy and to praise the fossil fuels industry. Trump withdrew the US from the Paris agreement in 2017, and rolled back many rules introduced by his predecessor Barack Obama to fight climate change, which he calls a hoax. He uses every opportunity to underline his stance, and at the latest G7 meeting in France he was the only world leader not to attend the G7 session on climate. This prompted Ida Auken, a Danish MP, to send a message to Trump along with a video clip she made for him.
The relations between the two countries are not going well these days, having in mind Trump wants to buy a part of Denmark – Greenland. After Danish prime minister said that his interest in buying Greenland is absurd, Trump has postponed a visit to Denmark. In her message, Ida Auken included a video clip she made, with a title: Mr. President – Greenland is not for sale. But Denmark has a much better deal for you! Watch this.
— Ida Auken (@IdaAuken) August 20, 2019
Ida Auken, a former minister for the environment and now chair of the parliamentary climate and energy committee, starts with Trump’s statement on fossil fuel after he passed the climate session of the G7 meeting. “I’m not going to lose that wealth. I’m not going to lose it on dreams and windmills, which, frankly, aren’t working too well.”
She goes on to say that neither the president nor anyone else will lose their wealth because of wind energy. A green energy system is cheaper, cleaner and safer than most systems dependent on fossil fuel, she says.
“When I travel and discuss energy in my role as former minister for the environment and now chair of the climate and energy committee in the Danish Parliament, I am often confronted with the same misunderstandings the president put forward in his comments Monday, as well as those in previous comments, when he linked wind energy to cancer and power blackouts. Such perceptions disregard the astonishing developments within the wind industry in the past five to 10 years. Allow me to point out a few facts,” says Auken.
A few facts for Trump
First, regarding the power produced. The wind industry builds giant turbines that can each produce enough electricity to cover the annual consumption of more than 4,000 American homes, or 10,000 European ones, a huge increase over previous turbines. Each turbine equals a small power plant and can be twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty.
Wind and solar are now cheapest across more than two-thirds of the world. By 2030 they undercut commissioned coal and gas almost everywhere
Second, regarding the cost: Wind energy has experienced a dramatic decrease in price over the past five to 10 years. Both land wind and offshore wind cost half what they did a decade ago. “Wind and solar are now cheapest across more than two-thirds of the world. By 2030 they undercut commissioned coal and gas almost everywhere,” Auken notes, citing Bloomberg News.
Denmark averages only 15 minutes of power outages a year, compared with two hours in the US
Blackouts: In Denmark, 50.1% of our 2017 domestic electricity production came from wind — at times 100% – but the country averages only 15 minutes of power outages a year, compared with two hours in the United States.
As for cancer: If wind turbines caused cancer, all Danes would be wind-turbine cancer survivors, because we started putting up turbines 40 years ago.
“Wind turbines do not cause cancer, whereas the dangers of coal-fired power plants and particles from fossil-fuel-powered cars are well established,” she notes.
The best news for the United States
Auken quoted BNP Paribas, which predicts that cars running on gasoline will soon be able to compete with electric cars running on green energy only if oil is produced at USD 9 a barrel (it trades at more than USD 50 a barrel).
Wind and solar energy together account for twice as many jobs in the United States as the entire coal industry
The wind industry creates jobs, including blue-collar ones, and that goes for the US as well as Europe. Wind and solar energy together account for twice as many jobs in the US as the entire coal industry.
“And finally comes the best news for the United States: The Midwest and the coasts are simply perfect for wind energy. Midwestern states have large areas with very high wind speeds and few neighbors. This makes for optimal conditions for the cheapest type of wind energy: land turbines. The coasts have on their side large markets for their electricity,” she says.
We’re cheering for you from over here
Auken asked Trump why invest in the more expensive solution? A smart and forward-looking economy should be focused on harvesting all the free energy that can get from the sun and wind and use it for cars, industry, and homes.
“I happen to agree with the president: America should be great again. So why not get the country back at the forefront of technology development, and make it the leader on renewable energy? We’re cheering for you from over here,” Auken wrote in an article published by the Washington Post, titled “We Danes know a lot about wind turbines. You can learn, too, President Trump.”