Supporting healthy water systems

Access to clean water and sanitation is a basic human right. At Ørsted, we’re committed to continuously reducing our impacts related to water withdrawal, consumption, and discharge – particularly in regions where water is scarce.

Why must we be mindful of our impact on water systems?  

Global water systems and clean freshwater supplies are under increasing pressure from human consumption, pollution, and the consequences of climate change. At Ørsted, we want to develop renewable energy that helps nature thrive, ensuring that energy production doesn’t deplete or pollute our global water systems. 

What are we doing? 

  • We’ve set a water target to reduce our total freshwater withdrawal intensity (m³ per GWh) by 40 % from 2021 to 2025.

  • We work to reduce our impacts related to water withdrawals, consumption, and discharges, particularly in regions where water is scarce. The majority of Ørsted’s total heat and power generation comes from wind energy, which requires almost no direct freshwater withdrawals. Our main use of water is linked to our Danish combined heat and power (CHP) plants, and already today, 99 % of our total withdrawals is seawater rather than freshwater. The seawater is used for cooling at our CHP plants, where it’s circulated in a closed system and returned to sea with a slight temperature increase but with no other impacts on the coastal ecosystem. 

  • We’ve established a working group to explore additional initiatives that use alternative water sources, including rainwater, produced water, and desalinated seawater. 

How are we doing?

We have a target to reduce our total freshwater withdrawal intensity by 40 % by the end of 2025 compared to 2021. 


Reduction in freshwater withdrawal intensity (m³ per GWh) 

Latest updates from 2023  

In 2023, more than 99% of our water came from the sea, mainly for cooling at our Danish CHP stations. We reuse seawater in a closed system, minimising environmental impact. At one of our stations, seawater is used as process water to reduce groundwater usage.

We continued our efforts to protect water resources through the following key actions:

Initiatives to reduce our freshwater withdrawals:

  • We’re strengthening water-saving initiatives, like installing a condensate cleaning plant at Asnæs Power Station for an 80,000 m3/year water saving.
  • We’re continuing partnerships with Kalundborg Symbiosis and Copenhagen District Heating to substitute clean freshwater with Equinor and HOFOR wastewater.
  • We’re utilising alternative water sources at our FlagshipONE Power-to-X facility, using steam, process water, and cooling water from Hörneborgsverket to protect local freshwater resources.

Initiatives to strengthen water management governance:

  • We disclosed our second publicly available CDP water security report to transparently report on the details of our water management approach. We will use the CDP framework to guide our actions in our water efforts.

  • We’re conducting thorough Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) during project phases, addressing water regulations and ecosystem preservation.

  • We’re performing annual impact assessments at vulnerable CHP stations and measuring water stress at the site level using WRI's Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas.

  • We’re ensuring there are no water withdrawals from high-stress areas, as per the Water Risk Atlas, and continuous monitoring of water discharges, quality, and temperature at all sites to meet legal requirements.

What’s next?  

We’re dedicated to safeguarding future water resources, especially in the development of P2X assets. Prioritising responsible water usage, we conduct water scenario analyses to anticipate future challenges such as water stress and drought due to climate change.

Additionally, we aim to establish science-based targets, guided by the Science Based Targets Network's forthcoming freshwater methodology. Here, we’ll map potential water impacts in our supply chain, reinforcing our proactive approach to protect water resources.

Key information 


  • We’re a member of the SBTN Corporate Engagement Program to help develop science-based targets for nature. 
  • We engage with Kalundborg Symbiosis and Copenhagen district heating, through which we use wastewater from Equinor and HOFOR instead of clean freshwater resources. 

International frameworks 

  • Science Based Targets Network 
  • CDP water security questionnaire 
  • Global Reporting Initiative 303: Water and effluents 2018 


Accountability lies with our Chief Operating Officer. Our QHSE Committee ensures that implementation is carried out by individual business units. 


  • Ørsted Water management policy (PDF) 
  • Ørsted Policy for quality, health, safety, and environment (PDF) 

These efforts contribute towards the following Sustainable Development Goals: 

Our sustainability efforts

Using biomass as part of a sustainable energy system 

Biomass plays a significant role in the Danish energy system. It’s essential that 100 % of the biomass we source is certified as sustainable.