Danish offshore wind energy giant DONG Energy has confirmed this week that its greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 96% by 2023 is now an officially approved Science Based Target, and well above what is required by the Paris Climate Agreement.
In addition to being one of the world’s leading offshore wind energy developers in the world — with more than a quarter of the total offshore wind capacity in the world, and ambition to increase that from 3 gigawatts (GW) in 2016 up to 6.5 GW by 2020 — DONG Energy was first and foremost an integrated energy company, with oil and gas businesses. However, over the last few years, DONG Energy has divested itself of its onshore wind business (in December of 2014) and just last month its Oil and Gas business.
The company’s focus has therefore narrowed primarily to offshore wind and, to a lesser degree, bioenergy.
As a company, however, DONG Energy is also making strides to ensure that it is a green company inside and out. This week, DONG Energy announced that its target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 96% by 2023 has been officially approved by the Science Based Target initiative.
The Science Based Target initiative is a collaboration between CDP, World Resources Institute (WRI), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), and is a member of the We Mean Business Coalition. The initiative is designed specifically to provide companies “with a clearly defined pathway to future-proof growth by specifying how much and how quickly they need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.” More specifically, the initiative helps companies ensure and develop emissions reductions that are in line with the level of decarbonization that is required to keep global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.
According to the Science Based Target initiative, “DONG Energy commits to reduce GHG emissions per kWh from energy production 96% by 2023, using a 2006 base-year. This is equivalent to generating electricity with a carbon intensity of 20 g CO2e/kWh by 2023.”
“It is encouraging to see DONG Energy set an emissions reduction target that aligns its business strategies with the rate of decarbonization needed from the energy sector in order to avert the worst impacts of climate change,” said Alberto Carrillo Pineda from the Science Based Targets initiative. “With its science-based target, DONG Energy is taking a leading role in the transition to the low-carbon future. Its target demonstrates to customers, investors and peers that the company is committed to creating long-term value and playing its part in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.”
This is a big move for DONG Energy, as it becomes one of the first energy companies in the world to set a greenhouse gas reduction target that is considered “science-based.”
“The way we produce energy is changing rapidly,” explains Filip Engel, Senior Director of Sustainability and Environment in DONG Energy.
“In ten years, DONG Energy has transformed from one of the most coal-intensive utilities in Europe to a global leader in renewable energy. In 2016, green power and heat accounted for half of our energy generation, and we have more than halved our greenhouse gas emissions since 2006.
“By 2023, we want to achieve a 96% reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions per kilowatt-hour produced compared with 2006. We are very proud to announce today that this target has been approved as being scientifically in line with what we need to do as a company to tackle climate change. With this reassurance, we now know that we are doing our part to support the UN Sustainable Development Goal on climate action as well as the Paris Agreement. That is a big deal to us.”