The Horns Rev 1 offshore wind farm

Five 20-Year-Old Danish Offshore Wind Farms Seeking Lifetime Extension

The Danish Energy Agency (DEA) has resumed case processing of all pending applications for lifetime extension of existing offshore wind farms, which was paused due to the ongoing review the Danish authorities are conducting to determine if the country’s ‘open-door’ scheme is in breach of EU law.

The Horns Rev 1 offshore wind farm
Illustration; The Horns Rev 1 offshore wind farm. Source: Vattenfall

If the applications are approved, the Danish government will extend the period of the electricity production licences for the five wind farms, some of which have already been in operation for more than 20 years.

Lifetime extension is being sought for the 40 MW Middelgrunden (commissioned in 2001), the 160 MW Horns Rev 1 (commissioned in 2002), the 8 MW Rønland (commissioned in 2003), the 21 MW Samsø (commissioned in 2003), and the 166 MW Nysted (commissioned in 2003) offshore wind farms.

In 2020, HOFOR announced that it was starting a restoration and recycling project at the Middelgrunden wind farm offshore Copenhagen, intending to extend the project’s service life by up to several decades. The following year an initial analysis commissioned by HOFOR found that the wind turbine towers and foundations at Middelgrunden had ”at least 30 good years left”.

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The Danish Energy Agency put the case processing of open-door projects on hold on 1 February 2023, until further clarification of EU legal issues. Together with the applications for lifetime extension, the projects include proposed new offshore wind farms and demonstration projects.

On 8 December, the Agency said that the Ministry of Climate, Energy and Supply, in dialogue with the State Support Secretariat, concluded that pending applications for extensions of the electricity production permit for already established offshore wind farms, filed under the open-door scheme, were not in breach of EU law.

Since the start of the assessment of compliance of the scheme with EU law earlier this year, the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Supply has determined for several projects that their open-door applications were not in breach of the law.


In March, the Danish Energy Agency resumed the case processing of the Frederikshavn, Aflandshage, Jammerland Bugt, Lillebælt Syd, Omø Syd and Nordre Flint offshore wind farms. In June, the Agency resumed the case processing of smaller test projects. 


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