Using wooden biomass for energy generation has allowed us to almost fully retire coal. To ensure significant carbon savings, the biomass must meet strict sustainability criteria. If it doesn’t, it shouldn’t be used in energy generation. Over time, electrified alternatives can replace and supplement sustainable biomass.
Back in the late 1970s, the combined heat and power (CHP) plants in Denmark were converted from oil to coal to reduce import dependency on oil. However, as climate change emerged at the national and international political agenda and the demand for carbon reductions increased, politicians and energy companies began to explore greener alternatives to coal.
The same was true for Ørsted. Just over a decade ago, our coal-fired power plants were still a significant source of Danish carbon emissions. We used 6.2 million tonnes of coal in 2006 to power our CHP plants. At the same time, we had just launched our first strategy to transform our business from fossil fuels to renewables, because we strongly believed the future of energy lay in renewables.
How could we decarbonise our heavy fleet of power plants while at the same time continue to provide flexible heat and power at a competitive price?