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World's Largest Offshore Wind Developer to Invest $30 Billion in Green Energy

Renewable Energy
Offshore wind farm. Orsted

To save the world from climate catastrophe, the world needs to urgently phase out the use of fossil fuels.

On Wednesday, Danish energy company Orsted announced a major investment program as it seeks to become one of the "renewable majors" leading a global shift away from planet-warming fuels, Reuters reported.


Orsted, which built the largest offshore wind farm on Earth, plans to invest 200 billion Danish crowns ($30.26 billion) in green energy between 2019 and 2025, the firm said.

Offshore wind projects will receive 75-85 percent of the total investment, while onshore investments will receive the remaining 15-20 percent. Bioenergy and customer solutions will constitute 0 to 5 percent of the spending.

Overall, Orsted (formerly Dong Energy) seeks to bump its share of green energy production to 99 percent by 2025, up from 64 percent in 2017.

"Today, our portfolio consists of 11.9 GW (gigawatts) of offshore and onshore wind farms and biomass-fired combined heat and power plants that are either in production, under construction or have been given final investment decision," Henrik Poulsen, Orsted's CEO and president, said in a press release. "Towards 2030, it's our strategic ambition to reach an installed capacity of more than 30GW, provided that the build-out creates value for our shareholders," he added. "As an important step, we're raising our 2025 ambition for offshore wind from 11-12 GW to 15 GW."

Poulsen said the global market for renewable energy is expected to more than triple towards 2030.

In September, Orsted officially opened the world's largest offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea. The 659-megawatt Walney Extension, located approximately 19 kilometers (12 miles) off the coast of Cumbria, England, consists of 87 turbines and is capable of generating enough renewable energy to power almost 600,000 UK homes.

Offshore wind technology is rapidly advancing, and the Walney Extension is expected to lose its "world's largest" title to Orsted's Hornsea Project One off the UK's Yorkshire coast. The under-construction wind farm is expected to be fully operational by 2020 and will have a capacity of 1,200 megawatts, or enough power for more than one million UK homes.

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A volcano erupts on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island on Dec. 9, 2019. Michael Schade / Twitter

A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.

"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."

The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.

Michael Schade / Twitter

At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.

The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.

Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.

"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."

Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.

Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.

"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.

"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."

The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.

Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.