Denmark-based offshore wind farm developer Ørsted and its compatriot wind turbine maker Vestas on Wednesday announced a commercial sustainability partnership, whereby Ørsted will procure low-carbon steel wind turbine towers and blades made from recycled materials from Vestas in all joint offshore wind projects.
"The deployment of offshore wind is crucial to enhancing energy security, advancing affordable energy for all, and not least curbing the climate crisis. 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," Ørsted said.
"Meeting this need requires cost-efficient solutions to address the most critical decarbonisation and circularity challenges in the wind industry, namely steel and blades. To address these challenges, Ørsted and Vestas will install low-carbon steel towers and, when commercially available, blades made from recycled materials at all future joint offshore wind farms," Ørsted said.
"By committing to integrate sustainable procurement not just as a one-off but in all future offshore projects between the two companies, Ørsted is creating ongoing demand for Vestas’ innovative low-carbon and circular solutions," Ørsted added.
The partnership entails that for all joint future offshore wind farms, the two companies will procure and install a minimum of 25 % low-carbon steel towers in joint projects.
"By utilising scrap steel manufactured with on-site renewable electricity, carbon emissions from heavy steel plates used in towers can be reduced by up to 70 %," Ørsted said.
Under the agreement the two companies will work to scale circular blade recycling technology and procure blades made from recycled materials.
Vestas and its partners in the CETEC project have pioneered what has been described as the first solution to break down composite materials in both existing and future epoxy-based blades and use the recovered epoxy resin for new blades.
This addresses the industry’s biggest circularity challenge, namely the many blades in operation today that need to be recycled at their end-of-life. Vestas is currently scaling up the circular recycling value chain together with its partners Olin and Stena Recycling. When ready for commercial manufacturing, Ørsted will procure wind turbines blades made from recycled materials from Vestas to further accelerate the scaling of the technology.
Apart from the commitments to low-carbon steel towers and circular blade recycling, the companies have also pledged to explore other areas of collaboration within sustainability, including within biodiversity, to ensure a build-out of renewable energy in balance with nature.
Mads Nipper, Group President and CEO of Ørsted, says: “There’s no playing defense when it comes to climate change. And no progress without partnerships. That’s why we at Ørsted are very proud to partner with Vestas to integrate and scale cutting-edge decarbonisation and circularity solutions to meet future customer demands for net-zero wind farms. Together with Vestas, we’re leading the industry towards net-zero, and I urge decision-makers across the globe to also take action and help drive demand for low-carbon and circular solutions within renewable energy.“