Sustainable Energy

The world's biggest offshore wind developer wants a carbon-neutral supply chain

Key Points
  • Headquartered in Denmark, Orsted is involved in large scale wind energy projects around the world.
  • The company is one of many firms looking to reduce emissions across both its own operations and its supply chain.

Danish energy firm Orsted has launched a plan for a carbon-neutral supply chain by the year 2040.

In an announcement Tuesday the business — which recently said it would be carbon neutral by 2025 — said its carbon footprint had two strands: emissions from its own energy production and operations; and emissions from the energy it traded alongside "the goods and services" in the company's supply chain.

The Frederica-headquartered firm said it would engage strategic suppliers involved in "the most carbon-intensive categories" of its supply chain, namely the production of wind turbines, foundations, cables and substations.

Orsted described the materials used to make these assets as being "energy intensive to extract and manufacture."

The company added that fossil fuels used by the ships which carry and install offshore wind components were the second biggest source of emissions in its supply chain.

"Reducing emissions in the renewable energy supply chain is a significant task," Henrik Poulsen, the CEO of Orsted, said in a statement.

"Businesses will need to collaborate across supply chains to cut emissions at the pace and scale demanded by science," Poulsen added. "We now reach out to our industry-leading suppliers to join forces to accelerate the global green transformation."

Among other things, Orsted explained it would ask strategic suppliers to act by disclosing their emissions and using 100% renewable electricity to build things such as wind turbines, cables, foundations and components. In addition, they will be asked to "optimize their current vessel fleet and develop a roadmap to power vessels with renewable energy."

Of its own business, Orsted said it would achieve carbon neutrality by undertaking actions such as phasing coal out and installing 20 gigawatts of onshore and offshore wind.

The world's biggest offshore wind developer, Orsted is involved in large scale projects around the world. These include the 659 megawatt Walney Extension facility, in the Irish Sea, which was officially opened in 2018.

The scale of that project is considerable: It is capable of powering more than 590,000 homes, has 87 turbines and covers an area of around 20,000 soccer pitches, Orsted says.

The company is one of many firms looking to reduce emissions across both its own operations and its supply chain.

Toward the end of January another Danish firm, turbine manufacturer Vestas, said it was aiming to produce "zero-waste" wind turbines by the year 2040.

The company explained that its goal would mean operating a value chain that produced no waste materials.

This, it added in a statement, would be achieved through the introduction of a "circular economy approach" in the design, production, service and end-of-life parts of the value chain.