If you think we have to rely on energy from oil, gas and coal because green energy is too expensive, think again. One former fossil-based energy company is poised to deliver power to the UK from an offshore wind farm that is not only cleaner, but is actually cheaper than energy produced from fossil deposits.
The old arguments for fossil-fuel power are being blown away by Ørsted, a Danish energy company that has made the switch from black to green energy and firmly believes the rest of us need to follow suit.
From 2022, they will offer the lowest ever price for offshore wind in the UK, so we can have our cake and eat it, without hurting the planet while baking it.
“Climate change is a very real threat and we must all take responsibility,” Matthew Wright, managing director, told us. “Transforming the world’s energy supply from coal, oil and gas to renewables is simply the right thing to do.”
We asked Matthew about Ørsted’s conversion to a green energy company. How did they manage the breakthrough of making sustainable energy cheaper than fossil fuel?
“Offshore wind technology is evolving rapidly and the capacity of an offshore turbine has more than doubled over the last decade. Increased wind farm scale, greater efficiencies and a solid supply chain have been key elements of the success story to date, but we cannot overlook the role of successive UK governments in providing the certainty needed for continued investment in offshore wind, enabling it to become the thriving industry it is today.”
When you think that the first wind farm was only built in 1991, you realise how young the sustainable energy industry is. It is only going to get more and more efficient. But it can’t have been easy transforming a conventional fossil energy-based company into a renewable energy pioneer.
“It’s quite an achievement when you consider that just five years ago, offshore wind was still a young and relatively small-scale technology with high costs when compared to fossil fuels. We made a bold decision to divest our upstream oil and gas business, and to stop all use of coal. We’ve ramped up our green investments and have become the world’s largest developer of offshore wind.
“One of the biggest, and arguably most important tasks came in 2012, when the UK government set the industry a challenge to reduce the cost of offshore wind. The industry rose to the challenge and smashed the target three years ahead of schedule. Our Hornsea Project Two wind farm was recently awarded a contract at the lowest ever price for offshore in the UK. This is an incredible achievement not just for us as a company but for the whole industry, making offshore wind cheaper than newly built coal or gas fired power plants,” Matthew reveals.
With global economic uncertainty putting pressure on budgets across the world, this is the perfect time for green energy to become more viable.
“Absolutely. We are at a point where offshore wind and other green technologies, like onshore wind and solar power, are cost competitive with fossil fuels, so it makes economic sense to pursue green energy generation.
“However, it’s not all just about energy generation. Our offshore wind business is part of a hugely successful and growing UK industry, providing opportunities to export products and services overseas, creating high quality jobs across the country.”
Global temperatures are rising, so are sea levels and the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, while the polar ice cap shrinks, all due to human activity.
Therefore, sustainable power is essential to safeguard the planet for generations to come. What Ørsted are doing is admirable, but it will take a concerted effort from governments and businesses across the world to roll back the impact human life has on our planet.
“Fortunately, we see a lot of progress being made on this agenda as countries in the EU, China, individual states in the US and many other countries across the world are making large-scale investments to transform their energy supply to green energy. It’s important that this global commitment continues if we are to realise our ambition and vision to create a world that runs entirely on green energy.
“At Ørsted, we have reduced our CO2 by 52% and we expect this to be a 96% reduction in 2023, when we complete the phase-out of coal use in our energy production. The fact that green energy is now at a point where it can compete head-on with conventional power production makes it the rational choice and one of the most important levers to combat climate change,” Matthew concludes.
So Ørsted’s development of green energy can be seen as a breakthrough in our relationship with our planet, as well as a golden opportunity to protect the future. Now, let’s hope the world takes notice.
More from Matthew Wright here: