Orsted has helped boost the prospects of offshore windpower

THIRTY KILOMETRES off the coast of Denmark, in the dark, churning North Sea, 91 white turbines slice through the air. The Scandinavian country is the birthplace of the offshore-wind industry. In 1991 the world’s first such electricity generators were erected there and, 11 years later, the first large-scale offshore wind farm, built with the help of a freighter previously employed to ferry bananas. On a recent gusty day, dangling above the waves, mechanics abseiled down the 40-metre-long blades for routine maintenance.

Such sights are rare in most of the world; offshore wind generates just 2% of global renewable power. In Denmark they are humdrum. Behind it all is a company that few know and fewer can pronounce.

Seven years ago Orsted (“ur-sted”) was DONG Energy, Denmark’s state-owned hotch-potch of coal and natural-gas plants, a few wind farms, oil production and more. Today the utility is the world’s biggest offshore-wind developer, with a third of the market outside China. In 2018 offshore wind accounted for about 90% of Orsted’s gross operating profit and 80% of capital employed. As fossil-fuel-dependent rivals grapple with concerns about climate change, Orsted has transformed itself into a darling of environmentalists and investors alike. Its share price has doubled in the past two years. Around the world the Danish...



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