Taking action to stay within 1.5ºC

Transforming the global energy system

to combat climate change

Our experience in transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy

At Ørsted, we have first-hand experience of what it takes to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Only a decade ago, oil, gas, and coal were our core business. We were one of the most coal-intensive utilities in Europe with an expanding oil and gas production business. The emissions from our coal-fired combined heat and power plants accounted for one third of all Danish carbon emissions. But we decided to phase out fossil fuels and significantly expand our production of green energy.

Since then, we have reduced carbon emissions by phasing out our use of fossil fuels. We have divested our oil and gas production. And since 2006, we have reduced our consumption of coal by more than 80%.

Ørsted´s share of green power and heat

Source: Ørsted. Note that 2019 numbers are for 9M 2019

We have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 83% since 2006, and by 2025 our power and heat production will have become essentially carbon neutral. It means that we are 27 years ahead of schedule if we were to adhere to the requirements for emission reductions in a 2°C scenario. Today, Ørsted is a global green energy company and has been named the most sustainable energy company in the worldCitation Kahn, et al. (2019) Long-Term Macroeconomic Effects of Climate Change: a Cross-Country Analysis .

By 2023, we will stop using coal altogether. Alongside phasing out fossil fuels we have built up the world’s leading offshore wind energy business, which has made us one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies. Our offshore wind farms in Europe, the US and Asia now bring green power to over 13 million people. Our share of green energy today sits at 83%, up from just 17% in 2006. By 2030, our ambition is for the renewable energy we have installed to bring green power to more than 50 million people.

Million people that Ørsted brings green power to

Source: Ørsted. Past and present numbers are based on onshore and offshore capacity, while goals for 2025 and 2030 will include all green power generation technologies in our portfolio by then. 2019 numbers are for H1.

Our investments in offshore wind power, totalling more than $20 billion since 2010 along with our partners, have been instrumental in developing the offshore wind industry from a niche to a global and rapidly growing industry with the potential to deliver green energy to hundreds of millions of people.

We are now also looking beyond our energy generation and operations to reduce emissions throughout our value chain and have set a target to halve our indirect emissions by 2032 compared to 2018. These emissions come from our supply chain and the energy products we buy and sell in the energy markets. As of 2021, Ørsted will no longer buy or lease fossil-fuelled vehicles, and in 2025, our car fleet will be 100% electric.

Carbon intensity of Ørsted´s power and heat generation

Ørsted's carbon intensity of energy
The International Energy Agency's 2°C
scenario for greenhouse gas reductions
g CO2e/kWh

Our transformation has not been easy, but it has been necessary. Our old fossil fuel-based business model was eroding, and we needed to replace it with a model that was both financially and environmentally sustainable. We like to think that we are proof that it is possible to change profoundly within a decade. Needless to say, it will require transformation on a much bigger scale to halve global emissions by 2030 through accelerated build-out of green power.

What we are talking about here is nothing short of fully decarbonising a global economy that has been built on fossil fuels since the late 18th century. However, the tools required to push the transformation forward are at our disposal. It is now a matter of our willingness to assume responsibility for the long-term health of our shared home, planet Earth, and take action without further delay.

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