Bioenergy 2018 outlook
Thomas Dalsgaard, executive vice president Ørsted
Sustainable bioenergy will continue to play an essential role Over the past decade, Ørsted (formerly DONG Energy) has been on a massive journey to transform the company from a Danish energy conglomerate based on fossil fuels to a global leader in renewable energy. We have significantly expanded our offshore wind business, converted our power stations from coal-fired to biomass-fired, and divested our upstream oil and gas business. Our transformation means that our old name, DONG
20 • January/February 2018
Energy, originally short for Danish Oil and Natural Gas, no longer told the true story about our company. Therefore, we have recently changed our name to Ørsted, after the Danish scientist Hans Christian Ørsted. In 2017, we took the strategic decision to entirely phase out the use of coal. By 2023, the use of coal as fuel at Ørsted’s power stations will have stopped completely. The power stations will be replacing coal with sustainable biomass. The decision is in line with our vision to create a world that runs entirely on green energy. Biomass is playing an important role in the transition of the European energy system from black to green. This will continue in the coming years as more and more countries are setting a date for phasing out coal. However, biomass should not compete with other renewables but rather go hand in hand with, for example, wind, solar and hydropower, to replace fossil fuels. At Ørsted we have installed 26% of the global capacity of offshore wind, which makes us the market leader. At the same time, we have converted five of our seven large combined heat and power plants from coal- and gas-fired to biomass-fired. With the combination of electricity from our offshore wind farms and green district heating as well as flexible green power from our biomass-fired combined heat and power stations, we are well on our way towards demonstrating in practice and large scale how to build an energy system that is green, independent and economically sustainable. Sustainable or nothing Biomass will continue to play an important role in the energy transformation in the coming years, but so will the sustainability debate. Some people find it controversial to burn wood to produce power and heat. As an industry, we therefore have an important task to continuously demonstrate and adhere to strict sustainability criteria for the biomass we use and to ensure that heat and power is produced from waste and residues from the forest and wood working industry. It is important that our customers, and society at large, can be confident that the biomass-based heat and power which we supply is sustainable and makes a real and significant contribution to reducing the carbon footprint. Together with other European energy companies, Ørsted is part of the Sustainable Biomass Programme (SBP), which has developed a robust and independent scheme for the certification of sustainable biomass. This means that our suppliers must provide documentation that the biomass they supply comes from sustainable forestry operations. Building on robust sustainability criteria and credible and adequate certification schemes, such as SBP, there continues to be a key role to play for biomass in the green transformation of our energy systems — not least to act as a back-up to intermittent power from wind and solar and for providing green heat into district heating systems.