Renewables

Ørsted issues blue bonds, vows to recycle solar panels, wind turbines

Wind turbines on the sea.

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Published

June 9, 2023

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Published:

June 9, 2023

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Danish renewable energy giant Ørsted said it would invest EUR 64 billion to achieve 50 GW in installed capacity by 2030. It borrowed EUR 100 million to invest in offshore biodiversity and sustainable shipping and established partnerships for wind turbines made with low-carbon steel and the recycling of solar panels.

Ørsted launched several sustainability initiatives and said it became the first energy company in the world to issue blue bonds. The proceeds are intended for investments in offshore biodiversity, in line with its 2030 commitment to achieving a net-positive impact on biodiversity, as well as in sustainable shipping.

The company borrowed EUR 100 million for five years at a fixed rate of 3.625%. Introduced in 2018, blue bonds are aimed at directing finance into ocean-based projects that have positive environmental, economic, and climate benefits, it explained.

Moment is right for blue bonds

“We’re currently witnessing a substantial funding gap for sustainable ocean action. As pioneers in the industry, we believe the moment is right to introduce blue bonds, which are in a similar position to where green bonds were 10 years ago. Furthermore, we’re seeing strong interest from investors, who recognise the chance to align their investment strategies with sustainability objectives, diversify their portfolios, tap into growth sectors, and support a positive impact to conserve marine resources,” Chief Financial Officer Daniel Lerup said.

The company revealed an investment plan through 2030 worth just under EUR 64 billion, aiming to boost installed capacity to 50 GW from the current 15.5 GW, where most is planned for the offshore segment.

There is 4.9 GW under construction now while Ørsted has been awarded projects for another 10.6 GW and has 114 GW in the pipeline, the report shows. The utility said it is decarbonizing its entire supply chain and that it is on track to reach net zero in 2040.

Supporting Vestas in development of low-carbon steel tech

In addition, Ørsted has committed to reusing or recycling all wind turbine blades and solar panels from its global portfolio, with immediate effect, and to only commissioning projects with a net positive biodiversity impact from 2030.

Ørsted has entered partnerships with suppliers in relation to low-carbon foundations and towers as well as wind turbine blades made from recycled materials. The company vowed to procure low-carbon steel wind turbine towers as well as blades made from recycled materials from Vestas in all joint offshore wind projects.

“Today, wind produces energy with a 99% lower carbon footprint than coal, but on the scientific path to net-zero, we must limit the carbon that the manufacturing of materials and components used in wind farms emits. This is also becoming increasingly demanded by consumers of renewable energy and policymakers,” the statement adds.

Ørsted will deliver solar panels from its projects across the US to its partner Solarcycle for recycling

The two companies said they would procure and install a minimum of 25% low-carbon steel towers in joint projects. Vestas is scaling up the recycling value chain for wind blades with its partners Olin and Stena Recycling.

As for photovoltaic panels, Solarcycle agreed to process and recycle Ørsted’s solar panels from projects across the United States in its facility in Texas. It extracts metals like silver, copper and aluminum and materials such as glass and silicon.

“Today, reusing and recycling solar panels is limited, and landfilling is still common practice. This means that materials with a high value to the green energy transition are simply let go to waste,” Ørsted stressed.

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