Orsted parts ways with 2 executive managers

ORSTED A/S, has parted ways with Chief Financial Officer Daniel Lerup and Chief Operating Officer Richard Hunter in what the company said is a “mutual agreement.” ASSOCIATED FILE PHOTO/DAVID GOLDMAN

PROVIDENCE – Orsted A/S, the Danish Utility company that has a 50% stake in the Revolution Wind project 15 nautical miles southeast of Point Judith in Narragansett, announced Tuesday that two members of its executive management team are stepping down.

Chief Financial Officer Daniel Lerup and Chief Operating Officer Richard Hunter are stepping down immediately from their respective roles in what the company said is a “mutual agreement.”

Rasmus Errboe, Orsted’s CEO of Region Europe and executive vice president,  will serve as interim CFO and Andrew Brown, a member of the company’s board of directors, has been appointed interim COO.

Mads Nipper, Orsted’s Group CEO and president, said the company needed “new and different capabilities to lead the finance and operations to strengthen its journey into the future.”

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On Nov. 11, Orsted, along with Eversource Energy LLC, committed to the 704-megawatt Revolution Wind project off the coast of Rhode Island, a “final investment decision” that came the same day Orsted scrapped two large offshore wind projects off the coast of New Jersey.

When completed, the project will deliver 400 megawatts of wind power to customers in Rhode Island and 304 megawatts to Connecticut, powering more than 350,000 homes in total. Orsted and Eversource say construction is projected to “ramp up” next year with the wind farm expected to be operational in 2025.

Orsted said on Nov. 11 that it is canceling its Ocean Wind I and II projects off the coast of southern New Jersey, citing supply chain issues and rising interest rates.

Nipper said in a statement at that time the company was disappointed to be halting the projects because it believes the U.S. needs wind power to reduce carbon emissions.

“However, the significant adverse developments from supply chain challenges, leading to delays in the project schedule, and rising interest rates have led us to this decision,” Nipper said.

Orsted stands to lose a $100 million guarantee it posted with New Jersey earlier this month that it would build Ocean Wind I by the end of 2025. That money could be returned to ratepayers.

Orsted, the world’s largest wind energy developer, warned in August that it might walk away from one or both of its New Jersey projects, which it said needed more financial subsidies beyond a tax break approved by the state that would have let the company keep as much as $1 million in tax credits that otherwise would have had to be returned to electricity ratepayers.

The decision was the latest in a series of setbacks for the offshore wind industry in the Northeast. Three weeks ago, New York regulators rejected a request from companies for larger subsidies to complete large-scale wind, solar and offshore wind projects, saying the companies were expected to abide by the terms of their deals with the state.

Several other offshore wind projects have been canceled. They include the Park City Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts. Avangrid, a subsidiary of Spanish utility company Iberdrola, and several Connecticut utilities scrapped a long-term power purchase agreement.

On Nov. 6, Nolan said Eversource has “substantially completed our contract negotiations with a buyer and continued to make good progress” in the sale of its half of three of its offshore wind projects with Orsted, including Revolution Wind.

“We expect this process to wrap up shortly, allowing us to execute our sales agreement with the buyer and announce the terms of the sale,” Nolan said.

On May 12, Nolan announced the company was “derisking the business” and that Eversource planned to sell all of its offshore interests before July 1 of this year.

(Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.)

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