Denmark’s wind power journey will reach a new milestone later this year with commissioning of the country’s first subsidy-free utility-scale project, said turbine maker Vestas which is equipping the plant.

The 17MW wind farm in the Port of Hirtshals was financed on merchant terms after securing a PPA with Energi Danmark, helped by the site’s strong wind conditions and the use of its V136-4.2 MW machines, said the OEM.

Denmark is Europe’s wind power pioneer, with an annual share of the power mix nudging 50% and a network highly geared to extracting the maximum benefit from variable renewable generation.

Like other European nations it has moved away from direct support in favour of competitive auctions.

Morten Dyrholm, Vestas global senior vice president for marketing, communications and public affairs, said: “Denmark’s auction system remains a strong instrument to ensure a successful energy transition and for Denmark to remain a global leader within sustainability.

“Complementing the auction system, this order shows that onshore wind have now reached a point where projects also are possible on market terms if we can put up the newest technology.”

The project’s developer Hirtshals Havnefond will operate the plant on the waterfront at the Port of Hirtshals in northwest Denmark. One of the turbines will be sold via shareholdings offered to local people and organisations.

Commissioning is due by the end of this year and the operator has signed a 20-year service agreement.

Denmark had 5.76GW of wind power installed by the end of 2018, according to WindEurope data.