Denmark will end oil, gas extraction in North Sea


Claus Bonnerup/Polfoto

Denmark has decided to end all oil and gas activities in the North Sea by 2050 and has cancelled its latest licensing round, saying the country is “now putting an end to the fossil fuel era.”

The Danish Parliament voted late Thursday to end offshore gas and oil extraction, which had started in 1972 and made the country the largest producer in the European Union. Non EU-members Norway and Britain are larger producers, with a bigger presence in the North Sea…

Denmark has been an early adopter of wind power, with more than a third of its electricity production deriving from wind turbines. They are considered key in the transformation of the energy system and should enable Denmark to no longer be dependent on fossil fuels in 2050 for electricity production.

Thinking ahead, making clear decisions based on sound science, are characteristics of modern governance that have been on the downbound road in the GOUSA since they were targeted by the Reagan administration.

The GOUSA can afford this in a New York minute. Just not in Trump time!

Denmark announced the ambitious plan of tripling its off shore wind power production by building two ‘energy islands’ linked to new wind farms in the Baltic and North seas.

The project is rumoured to cost upwards of 100 billion Crowns (a bit more than 14 Billion $$$), and according to Denmark’s climate minister Dan Jorgensen, will be the “biggest single infrastructure investment in our history”.

Jorgensen also went on to confirm that the island project would be financed through public-private partnerships, with the majority of the funding coming from private investors.

Liberal or conservative, it’s no surprise to have national leaders direct their energies to projects which benefit the whole nation. Unless, of course, they’re greedy, self-centered thugs whose only interests are profits and the exercise of power in his name.

The life and appearance of a hunter-gatherer in Denmark about 6000 years ago

At the dawn of the Neolithic era, a young woman discarded a lump of ancient chewing gum made from birch tar into a shallow, brackish lagoon that drew fishers to the coast of southern Denmark.

Nearly 6,000 years later, researchers excavating the site spotted the gum amid pieces of wood and wild animal bone and from it have reassembled her complete DNA and so painted the broadest strokes of her portrait.

” The strands of DNA preserved in the gum point to a hunter-gatherer from continental Europe who had dark skin, dark hair and blue eyes. She lived near the lagoon, itself protected from the open sea by shifting sand barriers, about 5,600 years ago, according to carbon dating of the birch tar.

Alongside her DNA, the researchers found genetic material from duck and hazelnuts – presumed remnants of a recent meal – and at least 40 types of microbes.

Anders Götherström said the latest work was exciting. “As for human DNA, these mastics may present an alternative source for DNA from where there are limited amounts of preserved bones. But even more exciting is the ancient microbial DNA,” he said. “The mouth is an exposed area of the body. It is possible that this type of material will outcompete bones when looking for DNA from ancient pathogens.”

Thanks, Honeyman

Massachusetts offshore wind auction draws global competitors, big money


David L. Ryan/GLOBE Staff/File

❝ The blockbuster auction for offshore wind leases that wrapped up Friday should leave few doubts: The industry has finally arrived in New England.

Three developers backed by major European energy companies paid a record $405 million to gain access to 390,000 acres of federal waters nearly 20 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. These firms will each pay $135 million to the federal government for the rights to build massive windmills in their respective slices of the ocean…

❝ The victors: Equinor, a Norwegian company formerly known as Statoil until this past spring; Mayflower Wind, a joint venture owned by Shell and EDP Renewables; and Vineyard Wind, a venture controlled by Spain’s Iberdrola and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.

RTFA. Maybe someone will read it to the fake president.

NotPetya — Tale of a Global Cyberattack

❝ It was a perfect sunny summer afternoon in Copenhagen when the world’s largest shipping conglomerate began to lose its mind…

The gift shop also houses a technology help center, a single desk manned by IT troubleshooters next to the shop’s cashier…Across the street, an IT administrator named Henrik Jensen was working in another part of the Maersk compound, an ornate white-stone building that in previous centuries had served as the royal archive of maritime maps and charts. (Henrik Jensen is not his real name.)…Jensen was busy preparing a software update for Maersk’s nearly 80,000 employees when his computer spontaneously restarted…

❝ Jensen looked up to ask if anyone else in his open-plan office of IT staffers had been so rudely interrupted. And as he craned his head, he watched every other computer screen around the room blink out in rapid succession.

“I saw a wave of screens turning black. Black, black, black. Black black black black black,” he says. The PCs, Jensen and his neighbors quickly discovered, were irreversibly locked. Restarting only returned them to the same black screen.

That was how it started. A long, complex tale of a cyberattack that was more powerful than even the originators of the attack could have predicted. A worthwhile read.

Happy Nations Don’t Focus on Growth


Roman Gorielov/Istockphoto

❝ The Socialist candidate for the French presidency, Benoit Hamon, says he doesn’t believe in the “myth” and “quasi-religion” of growth — it’s part of the “consumerist, productivist and materialist model” of development, he argues. That’s outside the economic mainstream, and many see those views as a symptom of the meltdown of the global left. But the recently-released Global Happiness Report 2017, produced under the auspices of the United Nations, shows that Hamon just may be ahead of the curve.

❝ Since the project’s inception five years ago, small, rich Western European nations have led the list. In this year’s ranking, compiled using the last three years of data, they make up the top six, with Norway, Denmark and Iceland leading the world. In terms of growth, these nations have long lagged behind the global level…

Meanwhile, China, which has one of the highest sustained growth rates in the world, is not progressing in terms of happiness. The happiness report contains an entire chapter on that, written by Richard Easterlin, Fei Wang and Shun Wang. They pointed out that based on previous studies, China should have seen an increase in well-being of one full point on the ten-point Cantril Scale. Instead, Chinese people are just about as happy as they were in 1990.

❝ The team of respected economists Jeffrey Sachs, Richard Layard and John Helliwell suggests six variables explain the subjective well-being levels: wealth expressed as per capita GDP, the level of social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity (the prevalence of giving to charitable causes), and perceptions of corruption…

❝ …The experience of the small European nations at the top of the table shows that once a certain level of wealth is achieved, growth isn’t as important to happiness levels. As long as per capita GDP is relatively stable, the other factors do their job, and if there’s a problem with them — for example, health care becomes less accessible or deteriorates, the social fabric starts fraying, people grow more selfish or freedom erodes — people tend to feel unhappy despite an unchanged comfort level.

The happiness-related findings are politically important. In 2015, George Ward of the London School of Economics analyzed European election data to show that subjective well-being was a stronger predictor of the vote for the incumbent government than GDP growth or the unemployment level. It’s hard for technocratic elites to acknowledge that the relative electoral success of nativist parties could be dictated by a yearning for social cohesion that they believe is undermined by immigration and globalization; it’s even harder to come up with ways of fixing the problem.

❝ Far left politicians such as Hamon at least give it a try. The French presidential candidate wants to shift the focus from growth to the social support network, primarily health care and education. He also proposes a universal basic income and a shorter workweek, made possible by higher taxes on the rich. It could help or it could backfire…

❝ …Regardless of whether their specific recipes are workable, the left-wing radicals are right in trying to shift the rich world’s policy focus. There’s plenty of wealth, that goal is already achieved. Good policy is a matter of directing it toward the determinants of happiness.

I’ll second that emotion.

Windpower industry goal = €100/MWh… Danish company already down to <€73/MWh


Click to enlargeNHD

Offshore wind has a lot going for it. From steadier, stronger wind speeds to the fact that NIMBYism is much less of a challenge, there are reasons why offshore wind has grown rapidly in recent years. That said, there are challenges too. Most notably, it costs a lot more than other forms of power generation. Or at least, it did.

Business Green reports that DONG Energy is set to smash offshore wind cost-reduction goals with two wind farms that it’s building off the Dutch coast. While an industry-wide goal is aiming to deliver a leveled cost of power at below €100/MWh by 2020, DONG just announced that the average bid strike price for the two Dutch wind farms currently stands at €72.70/MWh, excluding transmission costs…

It’s worth noting, of course, that every project is different. Alongside supply chain efficiencies, technical improvements and other wizardry that led to this low price, Business Green also reports that the Dutch wind farm sites offered very favorable seabed conditions — which presumably reduced costs considerably too.

Still, there are other locations that have good seabed conditions. Most notably the East coast of the United States. What are we waiting for?

What ARE we waiting for. 1. Resistance from pop music stars and political dynasties with summer mansions that might have their view altered. 2. Resistance from Congressional know-nothings/do-nothings who fear primary campaigns from Tea Party acolytes still using kerosene in their reading lamps.

Danes top the world happiness report, again

smiles and peace

Denmark, perhaps better known for its fictional, suicide-agonizing prince Hamlet and fierce marauding Vikings than being a nation of the happiest people, has just won that very accolade. Again.

Even U.S. Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have singled out the small Scandinavian country as an example of a happy, well-oiled society. On Wednesday, the United Nations made it official: It found Danes to be the happiest people on Earth in a study of 156 countries…

The Scandinavian nation of 5.6 million has held the happy title twice before since the world body started measuring happiness around the world in 2012. The accolade is based on a variety of factors: People’s health and access to medical care, family relations, job security and social factors, including political freedom and degree of government corruption.

Egalitarian Denmark, where women hold 43 percent of the top jobs in the public sector, is known for its extensive and generous cradle-to-grave welfare.

Few complain about the high taxes as in return they benefit from a health care system where everybody has free access to a general practitioner and hospitals. Taxes also pay for schools and universities, and students are given monthly grants for up to seven years…

Jeffrey Sachs from Columbia University, one of those behind the report, says that happiness and well-being should be on every nation’s agenda.

“Human well-being should be nurtured through a holistic approach that combines economic, social and environmental objectives,” he said in a statement before the World Happiness Report 2016 was to be officially presented in Rome on Wednesday…

After Denmark, the next happiest nations last year were Switzerland, Iceland and Norway, followed by Finland, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden.

The United States was 13th place, two spots higher than the previous year.

We’re Number 13, We’re number 13! Can’t you hear a crowd of Trump supporters chanting that?

BTW, a previous survey popular for gauging a happy nation in the European Union was the “Eurobarometer”. Denmark topped that list every year since its inception — in 1973.

Denmark set new world record for wind power in 2015


Click to enlargeShutterstock

Denmark produced 42% of its electricity from wind turbines last year according to official data, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/18/denmark-broke-world-record-for-wind-power-in-2015″>the highest figure yet recorded worldwide…

The country’s minister for energy, utilities and climate, Lars Christian Lilleholt, called the record significant and said: “Hopefully, Denmark can serve as an example to other countries that it is possible to have both ambitious green policies with a high proportion of wind energy and other renewables in the energy supply, and still have a high security of supply and competitive prices on electricity…”

“The fact that we are now generating surplus power 16% of the time in the Western Danish power grid illustrates that… we can benefit from imports and exports across borders to an even greater extent,” said Carsten Vittrup, an adviser to Energinet, Denmark’s transmissions systems operator…

The Scandinavian country’s surplus wind energy is mostly sold to consumers in Norway, Sweden and Germany, while it imports hydroelectric power from Norway and solar energy from Germany.

A situation that puts the lie to sophistry that prattles about small country successes can’t be upscaled to a nation the size of the United States. Hogwash. We can do exactly the same, region by region, state by state.

Meanwhile, Denmark’s Vestas wind turbine manufacturing division is encouraged enough by the extension of renewable energy credits by Congress [gasp!] to hire 100 more workers at its plant in Brighton, Colorado — and bought California-based UpWind Solutions, a service and support firm.