Orsted, a wind energy company that is partnered with the World Economic Forum (WEF), is getting huge tax breaks from New Jersey legislators to install offshore wind turbines. Tax credits being offered to the company were originally going to be returned to utility customers. One of Orsted's lobbyists notably has direct ties to the New Jersey Governor’s office.
Prior to the tax breaks that passed last Friday, there was legislation in New Jersey that directed costs associated with a failed project back to any off-shore company if it could not perform. It said that “ratepayers and the State shall be held harmless for any cost overruns associated with the [offshore] project."
However, according to the law that was passed last Friday as a result of more tax credits from the Inflation Reduction Act, if securities given to a company, such as Orsted, are “forfeited, the board may elect to return the funds to ratepayers or may utilize the forfeited funds to support infrastructure necessary to advance the offshore wind industry.”
Orsted, the off-shore wind company getting funding in New Jersey, first appeared as a partner of the WEF in September of 2021 according to internet archives.
At the 2021 WEF summit for using green hydrogen energy (using solar and/or wind in order to create enough energy to make an energy system for hydrogen atoms) the CEO of Orsted, Mads Nipper, said that offshore wind is a “cornerstone of the renewable energy transformation” and that they want to become world leaders in green hydrogen energy.
“We need to scale dramatically… [and] ensure that the incentives and policy frames are there."
“We don’t get it to scale unless we get it off the ground. And that is where production based incentives are really vital for an interim period of time,” Nipper stated. He emphasized that Orsted needed the freeing up of regulatory incentives, taxes, and fees.
During the first quarter of 2023, according to Senate filings, Orsted’s lobbying group, Orsted North America, had Kathleen Frangione lobby Congress for the “implementation of H.R. 5376 Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.” Total lobbying expenses for the quarter reported in the filing were $200,000.
Prior to being employed by Orsted, Frangione worked for the NJ governor as acting Chief of Staff in 2019 as well as the office’s Chief Policy Advisor. She had previously worked in John Kerry’s Senate office as well.
In a request for public comment to the Securities and Exchange Commission on a rule to standardize ESG reports for investors in 2022, Frangione made recommendations to the US Congress to enforce rules for “Scope 3” ESG reporting for companies. Scope 3 rules would force companies to report any direct or indirect emissions connected to the company.
This would include the reporting of any emissions released by supply chain partners to investors.
Those who would invest into Orsted are also buying into a company heavily influenced by the Denmark government.
Over 50 percent of Orsted shares are owned by the Danish Government, making it the effective owner of the company. The chair of the Board of Directors for Orsted is Thomas Thune Andersen, who is also a member of the Danish Committee on Corporate Governance.
This committee sets the recommendations that Orsted is supposed to follow for “best practice[s].” Anderson helped with writing them in 2020 after joining the Committee in 2018 when he had already been on the board for years at Orsted.
Andersen is also a member of the “Community of Chairpersons” at the WEF and has a history in New Jersey. He was the CEO of Maersk Oil from 2004-2009 which is based out of the state.
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