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Ørsted burned more cheap coal in 2020

Coal-firing in Ørsted's power plants increased last year and was in line with the volume from five years back. The utility's CEO says he can live with a few bumps on the road toward completely quitting coal and is not considering divesting power stations that could be equipped with CCS systems.

Photo: Rambøll

Sustainability is no minor part of Ørsted's image. Since the Danish utility offloaded its oil business and took the decision to phase out coal in 2023, the group has promoted itself as a catalyst for global climate change mitigation, which has also been lauded and broadly recognized – most recently with the Corporate Knights ranking of the world's greenest companies that acclaimed the group as the most sustainable power utility on Earth for the third consecutive year.

Development in 2020, however, doesn't unambiguously reflect this green trajectory. Even though Ørsted's wind and solar installations boosted the proportion of renewables and reduced its customers' climate footprint, the matter was rather different for the company's emissions, which actually surged slightly to 1.85 million tonnes of CO2 on account of far more coal having been burned than in the preceding year.

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