Sustainable biomass


From coal to climate-friendly energy


We’ve reduced the coal consumption in our heat and power production by 91 % since 2006 by replacing it with biomass – organic matter like straw, wood chips, and wood pellets. But it’s essential that this biomass is 100 % sustainable.
Watch the video to find out how Ørsted works with foresters to ensure sustainable forestry practices
We carry out continuous and extensive work to guarantee and document that the biomass we use in our heat and power production is sustainable. We’ve developed a number of sustainability criteria which are in line with the Danish industry agreement on sustainable biomass and with Danish legislation.

This makes sustainable biomass an important part of a greener global energy system.
Find answers to some of the most asked questions:
  • What kind of sustainable biomass does Ørsted use?
    Our wood pellets and wood chips are made from wood residues from sustainably managed production forests. The wood residues are of such low quality that they can’t practically be used to make buildings, furniture, or floors. Wood waste mainly consists of treetops, branches, and sawdust from sawmills as well as discarded trunks that are diseased. The more wood used to make furniture and buildings, the more wood residues will be available to replace coal and gas for power generation and district heating in our CHP plants.
  • How does Ørsted’s use of sustainable biomass affects the forests’ condition?
    The owners of sustainable production forests seek to produce wood as efficiently as possible. Production forests are regularly thinned to remove low-quality wood. Branches and treetops are also cut off and left on the forest floor when trees are felled and taken to sawmills. This leaves considerable volumes of wood residues which we can use to produce green energy.

    Our activities have no negative effects on the number of trees, the size of the forests, or the forests’ health. We only buy wood pellets and wood chips from suppliers offering biomass solely sourced from forest areas where there is ongoing reforestation, and where the ecosystem and biodiversity are protected. To ensure that our suppliers comply with our sustainability requirements, we’ve implemented the Sustainable Biomass Programme (SBP) certification system, under which independent third-party auditors monitor and certify that the suppliers fulfil our sustainability requirements.
  • What does Ørsted do to ensure that our biomass is sustainable?
    Our biomass is certified and meets the requirements of the Danish industry agreement and of Danish legislation, and our suppliers are controlled by an independent third party. Strict requirements for sustainable wooden biomass are now implemented by law. This applies to the EU Renewable Energy Directive and the Danish legal requirements for sustainable biomass.

    The Danish requirements, which a broad majority in the Danish parliament agreed on in autumn 2020, are even stricter than the EU requirements. Among other things, they require forests to grow, that carbon stocks as a minimum are maintained or increased over time, taking biodiversity into account, and no harvesting from protected natural areas. The biomass that Ørsted uses lives up to these legal requirements.
  • How can cutting down and burning trees be good for the environment?
    It’s a myth that using wood residues to generate energy means felling the forests. However, deforestation is a real and valid concern. Wood and forests are an important part of the solution to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Therefore, it’s crucial that the forests are managed properly and sustainably. Our wood pellets and wood chips are sourced from sustainably managed production forests where the trees are constantly replanted, the ecosystem is maintained, and biodiversity is protected.
  • Why is sustainable biomass a better alternative to coal when burning wood also releases carbon dioxide?
    It’s a myth that using wood residues to generate energy means felling the forests. However, deforestation is a real and valid concern. Wood and forests are an important part of the solution to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Therefore, it’s crucial that the forests are managed properly and sustainably. Our wood pellets and wood chips are sourced from sustainably managed production forests where the trees are constantly replanted, the ecosystem is maintained, and biodiversity is protected.

OUR HEAT AND POWER PLANTS

We currently operate seven combined heat and power plants in Denmark, along with one heat plant and one peak load power plant.

ELECTRICITY AND HEAT PRODUCTION

Our bioenergy capabilities ensure reliable, clean, and sustainable electricity and heat production.