Recognizing the environmental impact of steel and iron components, Vestas has established a partnership with ArcelorMittal to launch a low-emission steel offering that significantly reduces carbon dioxide emissions over the lifetime of wind turbine tower production. This is yet another initiative as Vestas continues to execute its sustainability strategy, which also includes addressing the materials it uses to make wind turbines.
Low-emission steel is produced using 100% steel scrap that is melted in an electric arc furnace powered by 100% wind energy at ArcelorMittal’s Industeel Charleroi steelworks in Belgium. The steel slabs are then transformed into heavy plates used to manufacture wind turbine towers, at ArcelorMittal’s heavy plate factory in Gijón, Spain. These heavy plates made of low-emission steel are initially suitable for all onshore wind turbine towers and the top of offshore wind turbine towers. The low-emission heavy steel plate features an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), certified by an independent body, detailing the product’s full environmental footprint and allowing for easier comparison between products.
By using low-emission steel in the top two sections of a marine tower, this emissions reduction would translate to approximately a 25% emissions reduction compared to a tower made of steel manufactured via the conventional steel manufacturing route. For an entire ground tower, the CO2 reduction is at least 52%.
Steel and iron constitute between 80% and 90% of the material mass of a wind turbine and approximately 50% of the total life cycle emissions of a turbine. By partnering with ArcelorMittal, Vestas takes an important step forward in reducing CO2 emissions produced in its supply chain and can achieve a 66% decrease in emissions intensity per kg of steel compared to steel produced through conventional steel manufacturing route.
Although low-emission steel is not yet a standard offering from Vestas, the first project to use low-emission steel will be the Baltic Power Offshore Wind Project off the coast of Poland. During 2025, Vestas will begin construction of the offshore wind farm, which is expected to generate up to 1.2 GW and ultimately supply clean electricity to more than 1.5 million homes in Poland. Vestas will supply, install and commission 76 V236-15.0 MW wind turbines for the Baltic Power offshore wind project. The top of 52 of the 76 towers will be made of low-emission steel.
Dieter Dehoorne, head of global procurement at Vestas, says:
“Finding ways to decarbonize emissions produced during raw material extraction and steel refining is vital for us and the industry as a whole. Vestas sees the partnership with ArcelorMittal and the adoption of low-emission steel as an important lever to reduce CO2 emissions in the wind industry. Our customer engagement is vital to driving the transition, so we are excited to be able to provide value to our customers with this solution. Baltic Power’s offshore wind project is a strong example of this progress, having secured the first order and affirming the delivery of substantial value to our customers.”
Laurent Plasman, CMO of Industry, ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products, says:
“This partnership sends a strong message that today it is possible to start building the necessary renewable energy infrastructure in Europe, with low-carbon steel manufactured with a European supply chain. Having a strong partnership across the supply chain is vital to achieving this, so we would like to thank Vestas and Baltic Power for their vision in using recycled and renewably produced XCarb® steel in this important offshore wind project. “With greater public policy support for the use of low-carbon steel in the construction of renewable energy infrastructure, this project could be the first of many to provide
wind energy for homes and industry across Europe.”
Jaros?aw Broda, CEO Baltic Power, says:
“As the first offshore wind farm in the world to utilize low-emission steel, Baltic Power, a joint venture between ORLEN and Northland Power, is pioneering a sustainable future in the renewable energy sector. Being the largest investment in renewable sources in this part of Europe, our project is setting new benchmarks. The use of low-emission steel from Vestas and ArcelorMittal in our wind farm underscores our commitment to innovation and environmental stewardship. We are proud to lead the way in transforming Poland’s energy landscape as we progress towards completing the construction by 2026.”