據全球100企業統計，全球最具永續性的公司是丹麥再生能源公司—沃旭，原為「東能源」（formerly DONG Energy） 。作為海上離岸風能領域的全球領導者，根據全球百大最具永續性企業（2020年企業騎士指數）統計7,300多家，全球收入超過10億美元的公司，沃旭排名第1。
另一個挑戰是安裝。為了解決這個問題，沃旭收購了 A2SEA 作為安裝供應商。（A2SEA是一家位於丹麥腓特烈西亞的海上風電場安裝和服務公司。該公司專門從事海上風電場的運輸，安裝和服務。除丹麥外，該公司還在英國和德國設有子公司。）它還需要與渦輪機、地基和電纜供應商建立牢固的合作夥伴關係。該公司與西門子建立了合作夥伴關係，其中包括提供500台3.6兆瓦渦輪機，這是當時西門子從未達成的最大能源協定。
沃旭花了30年把一個傳統化石燃料公司，變成擁有最好的運作燃煤發電廠和行業中的典範。這點，Henrik Poulsen 執行長功不可沒，同時，也跟天然氣價格的下降，影響其燃煤收入有關。
沃旭需要能夠幫它提供資本和管理投資的金融合作夥伴，同時依靠沃旭在建設和營運海上風電專案方面的經驗。由於沃旭不想利用專案融資 — 許多融資投資者希望使用的首選融資機制 — 它開發了「耕種模式」（farm-down model）。
利用這種模式，沃旭可以資助其資產負債表上一半的項目，合作夥伴可以使用專案融資為其餘，提供資金。隨著在調試前進行耕種，沃旭為投資者提供了一站式方案 （turnkey project）產品，這將保護他們免受沃旭能夠最好地管理好開發、施工和運營風險的影響。 這種融資模式受到丹麥養老基金的歡迎，後來又受到荷蘭和加拿大養老基金和其他投資者的歡迎。
如果沃旭沒有開發耕種融資模式，它不可能資助歐洲的所有專案。這種金融創新 — 沃旭開創的「農場興市」模式 — 在業內得到了廣泛的應用。
到2012年，沃旭的風電業務單位已經發展到數百名員工，為了支援新專案，它增加了所需的任何資源，導致效率低下，但它卻缺乏適當的組織結構和運作模式。Samuel Leupold 執行副總糾正了這一點，它引入了沃旭的第一個實際運營模式，建立了全球職能，明確專案治理，並建立了一個產品線組織，通過消除臨時或專案特定的採購，系統地降低了海上風電的成本。
2016年，該公司完成了首次公開募股 （IPO），而沃旭也因此成為上市公司。首次公開募股 （IPO） 為它提供了為公司成長提供資金所需的靈活性和獲得股權的機會。IPO也讓機構投資者和散戶投資者有機會參與其綠色轉型，同時銳化了沃旭作為可再生的純正形象。
In my previous article, I pointed out that ESG Investing has become the star of the investment community. Invesco’s Solar ETF and WilderHill Clean Energy ETF achieved the best returns amongst all ETF funds, returning 238% and 220%, respectively. And First Trust Green Energy Index ETF, returning 186%, is ranked #4. We now turn our attention to an ESG superstar – Ørsted – which recently entered into the biggest power purchase agreement (PPA) with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC) and is ranked by the Corporate Knights’ 2020 index of the Global 100 as the most sustainable company in the world.
Ørsted (formerly Dong Energy), the World’s Most Sustainable Company
While ESG Investing has attracted tremendous attention, the poster child of the world’s most sustainable company is the Danish renewable energy company Ørsted (formerly Dong Energy until October 31, 2017), according to the Global 100. The global leader in offshore-wind energy, Ørsted outperformed more than 7,300 global companies with billion-dollar revenues to rank #1 in Corporate Knights’ 2020 index of the Global 100 most sustainable corporations in the world. Topping the Global 100 list is a recognition of Ørsted’s incredible and successful strategic and fundamental business transformation from fossil fuels to green energy over the past decade.
Only twelve years ago, Ørsted was called DONG Energy, and it earned most of its revenues by selling heat and power, 85% of which came from coal. In 2009, it announced a major strategic shift: DONG Energy would seek to generate 85% of heat and power from renewable sources by 2040. It invested heavily in offshore-wind and phased out coal. By 2019, Ørsted had become the world’s largest producer of offshore-wind energy and raised its renewable-generation share to 86% -- hitting its target 21 years ahead of schedule. How did this happen?
In 2008-09, DONG Energy formulated a new strategy and vision called 85/15, stating that it wanted to change its heat and power generation mix from 85% conventional, 15% renewable to 85% renewable, 15% conventional. This strategic vision reflected DONG Energy’s ambition to conduct a complete turnaround of its generation mix in one generation (30 years). At the time, although no one thought it was possible to turn DONG Energy’s generation mix upside down within only ten years, DONG Energy’s management focused on what its future growth areas should be: areas where it had critical mass, the right competencies, and could differentiate itself. It became clear that one was wind power.
DONG Energy already had a sizable portfolio of onshore wind projects in Poland and Sweden and had been involved in projects in Greece and Spain. It also had early-stage operating projects in Denmark and the UK and large-scale development projects. These portfolios gave it the critical mass in wind when it formulated its vision. DONG Energy also had a team of 50-60 people working on renewable-energy projects, especially onshore-wind; thus, it had substantial in-house expertise to develop wind power technology-wise.
Overcoming Challenges to Achieve Strategic Shift
At the time, no offshore-wind project larger than 160 megawatts had been built. DONG Energy had to figure out how to build large-scale offshore-wind projects in a different way. It involved a 360-degree review of DONG Energy’s supply chain, competencies, and financing models. It concluded that it could not do it alone.
One challenge was installation. To address this issue, DONG Energy acquired A2SEA as an installation supplier. It also needed strong partnerships with suppliers of turbines, foundations, and cables. It entered into a partnership with Siemens which includes delivering 500 3.6 megawatt turbines, which at the time was one of the largest energy agreements Siemens had ever made.
Overcoming the internal pressure to keep DONG Energy the same was even more monumental, as it had just spent three decades (one generation) turning the company into a traditional fossil-fuel company with the best running coal-fired power plants and a benchmark for the industry. Employee skepticism was pervasive and deep; however, this receded after Henrik Poulsen joined as CEO and DONG Energy experienced financial difficulties due to the drop in gas prices which affected coal-fired installations that it had.
DONG Energy began implementing the new strategy by establishing a wind-power business unit. A group of European utilities was active in UK offshore-wind at the time, and
DONG Energy thought that UK would be the right place to pursue offshore-wind projects at industrial scale. Fortuitously, the UK government strengthened its support for offshore-wind to help make these projects financially viable and this turbocharged DONG Energy’s strategic shift.
Financing Dong Energy’s Strategic Transformation with New Financial Model
Dong Energy needed financial partners that could deliver capital and manage their investments while relying on Dong Energy’s experience in constructing and operating offshore-wind projects. Since Dong Energy did not want to use project financing -- the preferred financing mechanism many of its financing investors wanted to use -- it developed the “farm down” model. Using this model, Dong Energy could fund its half of a project on its balance sheet and partners could use project financing to fund the rest.
With farm-downs happening before commissioning, Dong Energy provided investors with turnkey project offerings, which would protect them from development, construction, and operating risks which Dong Energy can manage best. This financing model was well received by the Danish pension funds and later by Dutch and Canadian pension funds and other investors.
Had Dong Energy not developed the farm-down financing model, it could not have funded all the projects in Europe. This financial innovation – the “farm down” model that Dong Energy pioneered – became widely used in the industry.
Dong Energy’s Organizational Transformation as It Shifted toward Renewables
By 2012, Dong Energy’s wind-power business unit had grown to hundreds of employees, but it was still working like a start-up. To support new projects, it added whatever resources were needed, which led to inefficiencies, but it lacked a proper organizational structure and operating model. Samuel Leupold, EVP, corrected that by introducing Dong Energy’s first real operating model, establishing global functions, clear project governance, and a product-line organization that systematically reduced the cost of offshore-wind electricity by eliminating ad hoc or project-specific sourcing and procurement.
During the past three years, Ørsted has also cultivated a “one company” approach spanning its business units. For instance, it has established a management-team forum consisting of all EVPs and SVPs who meet four times a year to talk about its strategy and strategic enablers such as talent and digital. That forum facilitates open discussions to break silos, align Orsted’s approach, and build a strong network among senior leaders. In addition, Ørsted has reestablished its leadership-forum meetings for its top 400 leaders.
Ørsted’s Significant Strategic Moves in Recent Years
The strategic steps Ørsted has taken during the past three to five years have focused on turning Ørsted into a global renewable-energy major player. First, it divested its oil and gas business, which concentrated its business almost entirely on renewables. Moreover, Ørsted also invested in the conversion of its domestic heat and power plants, enabling them to move away from coal toward biomass. As a result, Ørsted will exit coal in 2023, and its power generation will be carbon neutral in 2025, an incredible achievement.
In 2016, it completed its IPO, and DONG Energy, which it was still called at the time, became a publicly listed company. The IPO provided it with the flexibility and access to equity that it need to fund growth. The IPO also gave institutional and retail investors an opportunity to take part in its green transition, while sharpening Orsted’s profile as a renewable pure-play.
Within the past couple of years, Ørsted has reentered the onshore-wind market and moved into solar PV and storage solutions markets. These moves will help diversify Ørsted’s technology mix so it can better meet the demands of its customers. What is important to note is that Ørsted has been moving into these technologies at scale. North America, for example, is a large market for onshore-wind and storage solutions, and Ørsted is investing there. Everything Ørsted does reflects its vision to create a world that runs entirely on green energy. And while offshore-wind has the potential to power the world, Ørsted is convinced that a broader technology mix will support the growth of Ørsted even better.
Ørsted’s Growth Opportunities as the Offshore-Wind Leader and Its Strategies
Ørsted intends to remain the global leader in offshore-wind. In the past two to three years, offshore-wind has expanded from a predominantly European market to a global market. Ørsted has been a first mover as that shift has occurred. It is the first European developer that went into large-scale offshore-wind in the US. It is also the first foreign offshore-wind developer to enter Taiwan. Within a few years, it has developed sizable project portfolios in both markets.
To support its growth, Ørsted recently reorganized our offshore-wind business and established four new regions. Moving closer to different markets is important for navigating their development. It also helps with commercial matters like owning wind farms. At the same time, Ørsted wants to keep the scale advantages, leverage, and standards that its global operations and EPC [engineering, procurement, construction] functions deliver, and so they work closely with its regions.
How Ørsted Plans to Remain a Leader in the Energy Sector
Is Ørsted at risk of losing its leadership position in the offshore-wind, considering that bottom-fixed offshore-wind is its bread and butter? Ørsted does not want to miss out on major developments—for example, in floating offshore-wind and will respond as the needs of its customers change.
The ability to reinvent itself has proven to be the key to Ørsted’s success. In 2006, DONG Energy consisted of some oil and gas licenses. Then it reinvented itself through the merger of six domestic energy companies. A few years later, the company reinvented itself again by establishing a wind-power business unit that became a global leader within a few years. Then, it became a public-traded company, which not only allows it to better access capital, but also raises its profile tremendously.
Scanning new horizons and spotting new business areas are essential to Ørsted’s strategy and its ambition to become a global renewable-energy major player. And there is every reason to believe that Ørsted will be able to do so – more so than any other energy company – as its continual move up in the Global 100 ranking has shown: 70th in 2018, 4th in 2019, and 1st in 2020.
The only risk I can see is the disruption caused by the resignation of its CEO, Henrik Poulsen, effective January 31, 2021. The transition appears to be orderly and well executed, as it was announced mid last year on June 15, 2020. This gives the Ørsted Board of Directors ample time to recruit from outside or promote from within. This is a sign of good board governance, which is the “G” in ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance).