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Ørsted turns to AI to boost US projects

The Danish renewables giant is targeting energy production, maintenance costs, and operational efficiency.

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Published
November 8, 2023
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A maintenance worker inside a wind turbine

Photo credit: Tom Lee / Construction Photography / Avalon / Getty Images

A maintenance worker inside a wind turbine

Photo credit: Tom Lee / Construction Photography / Avalon / Getty Images

A week after nixing two offshore wind projects in New Jersey, Danish energy giant Ørsted is doubling down on its land-based portfolio in the U.S. 

The company said Tuesday it is rolling out a suite of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools aimed at increasing energy production, decreasing maintenance costs, and improving operational efficiency across 5.5 gigawatts of land-based wind, solar, and storage assets. This represents nearly Ørsted’s entire Americas Region portfolio, which totals close to six GW of capacity across Texas, the Midwest, and the Southeast.

Ørsted’s tech of choice is Austin-based SparkCognition’s Renewable Suite, an asset performance management platform for utility scale renewable assets. It uses a wide variety of data (including weather and financial data) to predict failures, identify underperforming assets, and forecast grid operations. 

Ørsted hasn’t yet announced a timeline for rolling out its new AI capabilities.

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This latest move comes in a period of turmoil for Ørsted. The company’s high-profile decision to back away from its New Jersey project, citing supply chain constraints, underscored the rising costs that have complicated the Biden administration’s plans to support the country’s nascent offshore wind industry.(The Biden administration, for its part, said this week that Ørsted remains “committed” to offshore wind development.) 

And the situation could have knock-on effects for the broader climatetech sector, given that technologies like green hydrogen and direct air capture are relying on easy renewables access to fulfill their emissions reduction promises.

Meanwhile, Ørsted is still scuffling with the state of New Jersey over the fate of Ocean Wind I and II. It’s hoping to keep a $300 million guarantee it had agreed to pay the state in the event of project failure.

New Jersey and Ørsted agreed that the company would fork over $100 million if it failed to build Ocean Wind I by the end of 2025, plus $200 million towards developing the state’s offshore wind industry. However, Ørsted said its board hadn’t yet given final approval of the agreement when the projects were canceled.

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