Collaborative, radical innovation is what’s needed to create a world that runs entirely on green energy

By David Bould, Head of UK and Ireland Ventures and Open Innovation

"We must accelerate radical innovation now – so we can proactively build the sustainable green energy system of the future."

Ørsted’s vision is a world that runs entirely on green energy. 

If we want to truly achieve that and deliver green, cheap, and secure energy for everyone – we need to radically transform the entire energy system. 

That means we must accelerate radical innovation now – so we can proactively build the sustainable green energy system of the future. 

We’re working to do just that at Ørsted, but we know we can’t do it alone. 

That’s why we’ve launched the UK and Ireland Innovation Hub to inspire fresh solutions in the fight against climate change.

We’re collaborating with start-ups, academia, related industries, and the investment community to spark the best ideas for how to speed-up the renewable energy build-out and rapidly deliver it.


Our green transformation

Over the last decade, we’ve accomplished our own green transformation. We’ve gone from being one of the most fossil-fuel intensive energy companies in Europe, to being a global leader in offshore wind and one of the world’s most sustainable companies. 

Offshore wind is its own innovation success story – most clearly shown by the cost reduction and upscaling journey that the sector has been on, and which we’ve spearheaded.  

But offshore wind is only one piece of the green transition puzzle. 

If we want to imagine a future where 100% of our energy comes from renewable sources, we need to rapidly accelerate innovation around energy system integration to deliver green energy solutions.  

Wanted: Innovative solutions

Output from renewables is variable, but our current energy system is not built for that. So, we really need to rethink the whole energy system.

Some of the biggest challenges we’re facing include:

  • How do we make sure that we can get all the variable power generation onto the grid – and balance supply and demand?
  • How can we update our old-fashioned grid designed for a completely different generation system?
  • How can we use data about generation, transmission, and demand to make our grids smarter?
  • How do we deliver hard-to-abate decarbonisation? How do we incorporate Power-to-X into the larger system?
  • As we roll out renewables as quickly possible to tackle climate change, how can we also make sure we’re having a positive impact on the environment and biodiversity?
  • Are there ways that we can monitor, measure, and understand the natural environment more effectively?
  • In terms of social sustainability, we know that we are creating well-paid, high-skilled jobs. But can we do even more? Can we as an industry do a better job supporting the local communities where we work and operate?
Scottish Association for Marine Science biologist using artificial intelligence and 3D imaging software
Ørsted is collaborating with the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) on their North Sea 3D project which is supporting marine biodiversity efforts by using artificial intelligence and 3D imaging to chart the growth of marine life on wind farms across the North Sea.
Photo Credit: Joseph Marlow/SAMS


Collaboration is key

We’ve launched the UK and Ireland Innovation Hub to accelerate the next generation of renewable innovation and find solutions to these challenges.

Backed by an initial £500,000 investment, the hub will seek novel answers to some of the biggest challenges we’re facing and will provide a front door for innovators in the UK and Ireland seeking to work with Ørsted.

It will also form part of a growing network of Ørsted Innovation Hubs, building on the success of those set up in the US and the Netherlands.

By working with academia, start-ups, businesses in adjacent sectors and the investment community we can work at greater speed, across a greater range of concepts, and with a greater range of skills to accelerate the global green energy transition.

Exciting partnerships

We have a long track record of collaboration with academic researchers and cutting-edge start-ups that we’ll continue to foster with the Innovation Hub.

For instance we’ve worked with Masters and PhD students enrolled in the Durham Energy Institute (DEI) at Durham University for over a decade on projects and research that have positively impacted the renewable energy industry’s growth. The DEI will receive funding from the Innovation Hub for a green energy systems professorship, scholarships for energy master’s students and a PhD research pot to support research into green energy solutions.

In Scotland, we’re funding a project called PREDICT led by the University of Aberdeen and the Environmental Research Institute at the University of the Highlands and Islands. The three-year project aims to investigate fish migration patterns around offshore wind farms to better understand the movements of other marine species, including birds and marine mammals, and provide a vision for next-generation monitoring techniques.

We’ve also teamed up with the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) on their North Sea 3D project. They are using artificial intelligence and 3D imaging to map the growth of marine life on wind farms. This will allow us to quantify and understand the biodiversity impacts associated with offshore wind infrastructure more accurately.

We’re also investing in start-ups like Spoor, a Norwegian company that has designed an artificial intelligence system to monitor and track birdlife near wind power installations, particularly offshore. 

Our hope is that the new technology will help Ørsted, and the broader industry, get a better understanding of how birds behave around wind turbines – which will allow for better spatial planning of wind farms and improved biodiversity in the long run.

Those are just a few of the hundreds of external partnerships we are involved in across the globe that help us drive not only incremental changes to keep our core business competitive, but also potentially game-changing, radical innovation that can ensure our financial growth also benefits our communities and the natural world. 

Collaborative, radical innovation is what we need

On the road to net-zero, we’ve come a long way. But in many ways, we’re all just getting started.

To fight the climate crisis, what we need most now is speed and scale in the renewable energy build-out, but it must be done in a sustainable way that also generates real, lasting positive impacts on nature and society. 

Ørsted’s UK and Ireland Innovation Hub will help foster more collaborative work, so we can focus our attention on the radical end of the innovation spectrum and truly deliver a world that runs entirely on green energy.

David Bould, Head of UK Ventures & Open Innovation

David Bould, Ørsted’s Head of UK and Ireland Ventures and Open Innovation, will be at RenewableUK’s Global Offshore Wind 2023 conference. Come by Ørsted’s Stand J20 at 2pm on 14 June to hear him speak about how innovation can help us create a world that runs entirely on green energy.

Meet our speakers & explore Ørsted's stand presentations here

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