The world’s largest offshore wind developer Ørsted has reported better than expected results for 2019 off the back of a jump in its generation figures.
Its onshore and offshore wind earnings were up 30 percent compared to 2018 helped in no small part by the commissioning of the 1,218-megawatt Hornsea 1 offshore project in the U.K.
Operating profit (EBITDA) was up 17 percent for the year compared to 2018 to DKK17.5 billion ($2.58 billion). Those figures exclude “new partnerships.” The company’s 2018 figures were bolstered somewhat by the divestment of a 50 percent stake in Hornsea 1. The company had been guiding DKK16-17 billion.
Total renewable generation installed increased to 9.9 gigawatts, 6.8 gigawatts of this is offshore wind. Overall, it has 14.8 gigawatts of offshore wind commissioned, under construction or awarded.
These awards included the cementing of its global portfolio.
“We reached significant milestones by winning two large-scale offshore projects in the U.S,” said Henrik Poulsen, CEO and president, Ørsted in a press statement. “We were awarded 1,100 megawatts with our Ocean Wind project in New Jersey and 880 megawatts with our Sunrise Wind project in New York. With these awards, we have secured a U.S. offshore wind portfolio with a total capacity of 2.9 gigawatts to be completed towards 2024. In addition, we have up to 4.5 gigawatts of lease rights,” he said.
“During 2019, we took final investment decision (FID) on a number of projects,” added Poulsen. “In Taiwan we decided to build the 900 megawatts offshore wind farm Greater Changhua 1 & 2a, and we decided to build the onshore wind farms Sage Draw (338 megawatts), Plum Creek (230 megawatts) and Willow Creek (103 megawatts) as well as the combined solar (420 megawatts) and storage (40 megawatts) project Permian Energy Center in the U.S.”
The company said the “curtailments and various operational issues” had impacted offshore wind generation more than in a normal year. In late October the company triggered a wobble in confidence in the sector when it revealed it had been forced to address overly optimistic generation forecasts from its offshore wind farms.
It said the wake and blockage effects, created by the interaction of the wind with adjacent turbines and neighboring projects, was underestimated across the industry.
Despite an immediate dip in its share price following the announcement, it had recovered to around DKK625 ($92.10) within four weeks and has been trading above DKK650 for most of 2020.
RWE and Ørsted were fined £4.5 million ($5.9 million) each at the start of 2020 for shortcomings linked to a major blackout in the U.K in the summer of 2018. A software issue with the then partially operational Hornsea 1 was part of a series of contributing factors that exacerbated the situation.
The share of green generation in the company’s mix rose from 75 to 86 percent in 2019 as it continues to shift coal and gas to one side. It also divested its LNG business at the end of last year.
Ørsted claims it will itself be carbon neutral by 2025 while its total footprint, incorporating its supply chain and energy trading, will follow in 2040.