Danish power utility Ørsted, which specialises in wind power but also has six biomass-fired power plants, as well as one fueled by coal, has released some interesting earnings data for last year. While high electricity prices in the last four months of 2021 raised revenue and profits from its thermal power plants, and its gas business was also highly profitable, the same high prices were not beneficial for the wind power business.
As the Financial Times describes, earnings from the latter “were lower than expected because of the high cost of purchasing intermittent power to balance wind generation and of hedging during such a volatile period”. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the company’s gas business increased 345% compared to 2020, while the same metric for its power plants was 188%.#
Overall net profit, however, was 35% lower than 2020. The information will support the notion that energy companies may benefit from being able to diversify risk by having a range of generation methods, and by mixing combustion with direct electrification.