In the race to find innovative ways to implement clean and renewable energy, countries may want to keep an eye on Denmark. A new segment from "Changing Planet" reveals how the country leads the world in wind power.
According to a new, green episode of "Changing Planet" on The Weather Channel, 20 percent of Denmark's electricity is generated by the 5,500 wind turbines that have been built off-shore and on land across the country. Danish officials hope to increase wind's share of the country's electricity to 50 percent in the coming decades.
The Danish economy has grown by 80 percent in the past several decades, while its carbon emissions have remained constant, according to TreeHugger. Denmark's wind turbine industry currently employs over 20,000 people, and 90 percent of Danish wind turbines are exported. As an NBC news anchor says in the video clip, "What the Danes have done is transform an age-old idea and become world leaders in wind power."
Wind energy may offer both environmental and economic benefits to the United States as well. In 2010, the U.S. placed third for its economic investments in clean energy, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts. Plans have been approved for the first offshore wind farm in the U.S., with construction set to begin this fall. The Cape Wind project will place 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound off the coast of Massachusetts. The project's officials claim that Cape Wind will create up to 1,000 jobs in the area, and similar investments nationwide could create tens of thousands of jobs.
Despite wind power's promise of clean and renewable energy, critics cite many drawbacks. Opponents of a new wind farm in Maryland explain that both too little and too much wind can be crippling for wind farms. Additionally, current wind turbine technology does not allow for electricity storage on a large scale, creating the need for alternative, and often fossil fuel-based, backup systems when there is no wind. Other groups, such as some Ontario, Canada residents, have claimed that living in close proximity to wind turbines may cause health problems. However, it can be argued that these concerns are a small price to pay for a cleaner form of energy.
Tune in to The Weather Channel on Tuesday, July 26th at 9 PM (ET) for this episode of "Changing Planet," featuring a town hall conversation focused on wind turbines and their growing place in green energy investment.