Wärtsilä hosted a virtual Q&A meeting for sell-side analysts on 8 September with CEO Håkan Agnevall. The meeting included a brief summary from the CEO and a Q&A session. No major new information was published in the event.
Decarbonisation is largely driven by green fuels, such as methanol, ammonia, and hydrogen blends. The key drivers on the marine side are regulatory changes and green maritime transport. The EU’s Fit for 55 legislation package, although still a proposal, also includes shipping. There is an increasing number of retailers and lifestyle brands that are eager to buy sustainable transportation for their products.
The trend in the energy sector is to shift to 100% renewables, although that will still take time. When the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, balancing power will be needed. Currently, we see a lot of activity in North America around balancing power. The recent order by Omaha in the Nebraska and the execution of an order by Metaenergia in Italy represent proof points of thermal balancing power as an enabler of a shift to 100% renewable energy. Today our new combustion engines mostly run on natural gas, but in the future they will run on green fuels.
Energy storage is truly a growth business. It’s a hot market especially in North America, but also in Australia and in the UK, where we are taking our fair share. BloombergNEF recently identified Tesla, Fluence, and Wärtsilä as the three biggest players in the energy storage market.
Common theme: services
Currently, more than 50% of our revenue comes from services, and we see even more potential there going forward, both in transactional services and by moving up the service value ladder. We agree on fuel savings with the customer by making performance-based contracts, and face downside if we don’t deliver those savings.
Wärtsilä Voyage, which offers digital services for both vessels and ports, also fits very well in the decarbonisation theme. Optimisation of routes and port operations results in significant fuel savings. In the summer we, together with our partners, enabled the world's first digital port call using our Navi-Port system, which is a digital platform that facilitates the exchange of real-time data between ships and the destination to allow for an accurate arrival time.
Reflections on key challenges
Covid still influences both our marine and energy businesses. Cruise utilisation rate is currently at around 20%, but our customers are cautiously optimistic. On the energy side, one of our core markets is developing countries, which were hit hard by covid, and the customers there are still hesitant to make investment decisions.
Are you already getting questions about fuel flexibility from the customers?
Customers are already looking for 100% hydrogen solutions, and our plan is to have the technical setup for that ready by 2025. However, having the technical concept ready doesn’t mean that we are ready for serious production. We are part of an ecosystem which needs to evolve, meaning that the availability of hydrogen needs to improve and the prices to decrease.
What other major growth drivers do you see outside decarbonisation?
Wärtsilä Voyage is a growth story; we are well positioned and see scaling opportunities. In the containership segment, we are not so strong in engines, but the segment is driving demand for our scrubbers and gas solutions.
In the past, customers have always left environmental related upgrades until 1-2 years before regulations become mandatory, is this changing?
Some customers are taking more action on this than others. There are customers that want more than just to pass/fail, but to also differentiate themselves with their carbon footprint.
What is your long-term ambition for the energy storage business model?
We have a recurring customer stream and a capability to integrate our storage solutions with other generating assets. Our strength is the GEMS platform, which is an energy management system that monitors, controls, and optimises customers’ energy assets. Another element where we are going forward is providing hybrid solutions, meaning combinations of internal combustion engines and storage. We provide those together with our performance-based agreements and that way move up the service value ladder.