Ørsted’s Offshore Wind Farms

Is the time right to invest in offshore wind projects in the United States?

Geoffrey Heal, Bruce Usher  | Fall 2020
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Ørsted A/S, a Danish multinational power company, made a strategic shift in 2008 to refocus on renewable energy projects. The company based its decision on a changing economic environment—one in which both gas and oil prices and the cost of capital for renewable energy projects were both on a downward path. By 2017 Ørsted divested oil and gas completely in order to focus on renewable energy, including wind power, bioenergy, and thermal power. As the company continued to shift in the direction of renewable energy, the Levelized Cost Of Electricity, or LCOE, (the standard metric used to compare the costs of producing electricity from different sources of energy generation), began to dramatically decline for wind projects. Continuing its forward-looking vision, the company turned to offshore wind—previously thought to be more of an engineering and capital expenditure risk than onshore sites. By 2019 Ørsted had become the world’s largest producer of offshore-wind energy. This case provides students with detailed financial and output information (in an accompanying spreadsheet) about two wind projects—one onshore and one offshore—and asks them to determine if offshore wind has become an attractive, cost effective investment for US companies and investors.

Case ID: 210304

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