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Stock spotlight: The Danish companies powering Britain's renewable transformation

Mike Clements
Mike Clements

Fund Manager

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Denmark holds the keys to Britain's renewable future

Not everyone is a fan of wind powered energy. Or Denmark, for that matter.

Donald Trump, at a recent campaign rally in New Jersey, vowed to immediately halt offshore wind projects “on day one” of his second term as US president. Apparently, they "kill the whales" although a study by the US Fisheries department attributed the uptick in whale mortality seen over the last few years to collisions with ships rather than to offshore wind farms.

Closer to home, Britain has been a pioneer in building offshore wind developments. Thanks to the shallow sea beds around many of our coastlines and reliably blustery wind, the UK has maintained its ambition to build 50 GW of offshore energy capacity by 2030. Leading the charge, however, are two Danish companies that few people in the UK will have heard of yet are playing a major role in helping the UK to achieve its lofty ambitions.

Don't tell Donald Trump that. He famously fell out with Denmark after his offer to buy Greenland from them was dismissed out of hand.

Orsted is the world's leading offshore wind developer. Its latest project is the massive Hornsea 3 wind farm. Situated about 120km off the coast of East Yorkshire, the 2.9GW development will generate enough electricity to power 3.3 million homes in the UK as well as thousands of well-paid jobs in the country. Orsted has already built the sister developments Hornsea 1 and 2 which together produce a combined 2.5GW of electricity each year.

Source: Orsted

Having taken the final decision late last year, everything looks set to go ahead. Orsted has signed a contract with another of our portfolio holdings, Siemens Energy, to supply the 14MW wind turbines needed for the project. However, the job of physically transporting and installing these state-of-the-art pieces of equipment actually falls to another Danish company, Cadeler.

Don't be fooled by the small cap stature of this company. Cadeler owns and operates the world's largest fleet of wind turbine installation vessels (WTIV's). A WTIV looks like a standard ship but its jack up legs allow it stand securely on the ocean floor and carefully lift the wind turbine into position on top of the monopile tower. (If you are interested to learn more then watch this fascinating short video of one of Cadeler's vessels in action)

The problem is that these sophisticated vessels are expensive. Thanks to the rising cost of steel and higher interest rates, a new ship ordered today would cost close to $400m which explains why most industry analysts forecast that there will be a capacity shortage from the middle of the decade onwards putting some wind development projects at risk of delays and additional costs. The wind developers are responding by signing long term framework agreements with the turbine installers increasing the visibility for companies like Cadeler. Prices to rent the ships and the opportunity to add on other services are rising. Simply put, without Cadeler many wind farms would simply not get built.

The UK is determined to realise its renewable ambitions but to do so will require the help of the Danish. Just don't tell Donald Trump!

This article was written by Mike Clements, Manager of the VT Downing European Unconstrained Income Fund.

Important notice

Risk warnings: Please note that past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. Capital is at risk. Investments and the income derived from them can fall as well as rise and investors may not get back the full amount invested. Investments in our funds should be held for the long-term and are higher risk compared to investments solely in larger, more established companies. Opinions expressed represent the views of the fund manager at the time of publication, are subject to change, and should not be interpreted as investment advice.

Important notice:
This content is for information only and does not form part of a direct offer or invitation to purchase, subscribe for or dispose of securities and no reliance should be placed on it. This content contains information that is believed to be accurate at the time of publication but is subject to change without notice. Whilst care has been taken in compiling this content, no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made by Downing LLP as to its accuracy or completeness, including for external sources (which may have been used) which have not been verified. Downing does not offer investment or tax advice or make recommendations regarding investments. Downing is a trading name of Downing LLP. Downing LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Firm Reference No. 545025). Registered in England and Wales (No. OC341575). Registered Office: 6th Floor, St Magnus House, 3 Lower Thames Street, London EC3R 6HD.


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