Wind drives Ørsted’s 2020 profit increase

Danish energy giant Ørsted was boosted by increased generation from onshore and offshore wind farms in the UK, the US and the Netherlands last year

Ramp-up of production at the Hornsea One offshore wind farm helped boost Ørsted's profits in 2020
Ramp-up of production at the Hornsea One offshore wind farm helped boost Ørsted's profits in 2020

Ørsted increased its operating profit 4% last year, mainly due to the ramp-up of production at several large onshore and offshore wind farms.

The Danish energy giant recorded Ebitda of DKK 18.1 billion (€2.4 billion) in 2021, exceedings its expectations for the year (DKK 16-17 billion).

Its earnings from its wind fleet rose 14% to DKK 16.9 billion due to increasing generation at its 1218MW Hornsea Project One Hornsea Project One (1218MW) Offshoreoff Yorkshire, UK, Europe Click to see full details, 752MW Borssele I & II Borssele I & II (752MW) Offshoreoff Zeeland, Netherlands, Europe Click to see full details, 184MW Lockett Lockett (184MW) OnshoreTexas, USA, North America Click to see full details, 338MW Sage Draw Wind Sage Draw Wind (338MW) OnshoreGarza and Lynn Counties, Texas, USA, North America Click to see full details230MW Plum Creek Wind Plum Creek Wind (230MW) OnshoreWayne County, Nebraska, USA, North America Click to see full details and 103MW Willow Creek Wind (South Dakota) Willow Creek Wind (South Dakota) (103MW) OnshoreButte County, South Dakota, USA, North America Click to see full details projects.

The company made additional gains through the receipt of contracts for difference for a further 400MW at Hornsea 1 from April, as well as higher wind speeds. However, this was partially offset by adverse impacts of the coronavirus pandemic – especially on the UK power market and lower earnings from trading activities.

Due to the ramp-up of its wind fleet, the green share of Ørsted’s heat and power generation rose above 90% for the first time last year.

Ørsted’s net profit for 2020 – DKK 16.7 billion – was more two-and-a-half times higher than the previous year.

CEO Mads Nipper – who started in his new role on 1 January 2021 – said that despite the coronavirus pandemic, Ørsted had managed to keep its energy production assets “fully operational at normal availability rates”.

He added: “During 2020, we’ve also commissioned five new wind farms and managed to move our construction projects forward. This demonstrates the resilience of our business model and the skills and spirit of our people. 

“Safety continues to remain our key priority, and we continue to do our utmost to keep our colleagues safe across our locations.”

Ørsted expects its operating profit for 2021 to be DKK 15-16 billion, and anticipates to increase gross investments to DKK 32-34 billion (up from DKK 23.3 billion) due to a high level of construction activity in offshore and onshore wind, as well as solar PV.

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