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Orsted to use more fossil fuels as energy crisis continues

Jens Auer | Moment | Getty Images

Energy company Orsted is set to continue or restart operations at three fossil-fuel sites after being ordered by Danish authorities as European governments gear up for winter amid the energy crisis.

In a statement over the weekend, Orsted, whose biggest stakeholder is the Danish state, said the decision had been made to “ensure the security of the electricity supply in Denmark.”

Orsted said the order covers “block 3 of the Esbjerg power plant and block 4 of the Studstrup power plant, which use coal as their main fuel source, and block 21 of the Kindby peak load power plant, which uses oil as fuel.”

Esbjerg Power Plant is due to be decommissioned on March 31, 2023, while the other two units have already been decommissioned.

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“In order to ensure the security of the electricity supply, the Danish authorities have today ordered us to continue and also reopen some of our oil and coal-fired power plants,” said Mads Nipper, CEO of Orsted.

“Of course, we will comply with the order of the Danish authorities, and now we will begin training and maintaining the units, as well as providing the personnel necessary for their operation,” Nipper added.

Orsted said all relevant units will require maintenance to get them up and running, while “highly specialized workers” also need to be trained on site.

The company said it was ordered to keep the three units operational until June 30, 2024. Orsted, a major player in wind energy, has set itself the goal of being carbon neutral by 2025.

The news will alarm those who oppose the continued use of fossil fuels. Coal has a significant impact on the environment, and Greenpeace describes it as “the dirtiest and most polluting way to produce energy.”

Elsewhere, the US Energy Information Administration lists a range of emissions from coal combustion, including carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, and oxides of nitrogen.

“We still believe that we as a society should move away from gas, oil and coal as soon as possible, but we are in the middle of a European energy crisis and we will of course contribute to providing electricity to the best of our ability.” said Nipper of Orsted.

Days before Orsted’s announcement, another major European energy company, Germany’s RWE, said its three lignite or lignite production plants would “temporarily return to service.” [the] the electricity market to strengthen the security of supply and save gas in the production of electricity”.

RWE stated that the capacity of each of the units is 300 megawatts. “Their deployment is initially limited until June 30, 2023,” the agency added.

The news about RWE and Orsted comes at a time when Europe is struggling to shore up energy supplies as the war in Ukraine continues. Last year, Russia was the largest supplier of petroleum oils and natural gas to the EU. according to Eurostat.

He significantly reduced natural gas flows to Europe after Western countries imposed sanctions on the Kremlin as a result of its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Last week, unexplained leaks affected the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines, the main infrastructure built to transport natural gas from Russia to Europe via the Baltic Sea.

— Holly Ellatt of CNBC contributed to this report.


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