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Six European ports forge offshore wind alliance

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: Tom Russell 19/01/2023 Groningen Seaports

Representatives of six wind ports in Europe have signed a declaration to join forces to support offshore wind development. According to a joint statement, the ports lack capacity.

The six ports that have entered the unique collaboration are Port Oostende in Belgium, Groningen Seaports/Eemshaven in the Netherlands, Niedersachsen Ports/Cuxhaven in Germany, Nantes-Saint Nazaire Port in France, Humber in the UK and Port Esbjerg in Denmark.

According to the six involved CEOs, the ports also want to send a signal to the market that the ports are willing to do anything to accelerate the green transition with offshore wind.

“We, Europe’s leading offshore ports, will be crucial to accomplish this massive expansion of European offshore wind capacity. We are fully committed and stand ready to do our part of the work. By strengthening cooperation between the ports, operationally and practically, we can lay the groundwork that will lead to future extensions and sufficient capacity,” it says in the declaration

Back in May, the Esbjerg Declaration increased the target for offshore wind in Europe. Germany, Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands have set a combined target to deliver at least 65 GW of offshore wind by 2030.

The plan is for representatives of the six ports to meet twice a year.

The ports may, for example, collaborate on getting around the issue of space shortages. If one port only has space for half a project, another port may have space for the other half. The ports will also try to ensure optimal processes and, for example, share digital experiences. Port Esbjerg has just developed a digital tool – a digital twin – to help triple the capacity of offshore wind in the future, without having to expand.

“Today, the six of us as signed a declaration stating that we will do everything we can to support Europe’s ambitious aims. In May, the politicians set the framework with the original declaration, and today we’ve started to act on the challenge they gave us all by raising sky-high the targets for offshore wind,” says Dennis Jul Pedersen, CEO of Port Esbjerg.

”The importance of ports in Europe should not solely be calculated in tonnes, but should also be assessed in terms of their contribution in the deployment and supply of energy, in particular renewable energy. I am very excited to see these six important wind energy ports joining their efforts and leading the way in view of reaching the EU offshore goals. Through cooperation it will be easier to face the identified headwinds” said Isabelle Ryckbost, Secretary General in the European Sea Ports Organization (ESPO).

“We’re now joining forces to find the best solutions for optimising the ports in the offshore industry. Collectively, we can be regarded as serious partners in achieving the European targets,” said Erik Bertholet, Business Manager, Logistics and Offshore Wind of Groningen Seaport/Eemshaven.

“The green transition poses an enormous challenge for all European players in the offshore industry, so a stable alliance is key to success. Even though we’re competitors, we still face the same challenges and have a joint responsibility to achieve the political demands and market requirements,”
said Banik.

“This collaboration is important, because we make each other stronger. Likewise, it is very important for the green transition that we exchange knowledge and experience and share professional information with all stakeholders in the offshore industry, so we can create a professional platform”

“We’re new to the offshore wind industry, and we’re very proud that we’ve recently completed the first ever offshore wind farm in France. So, we’re looking forward to drawing on the experience of the other ports and to contributing knowledge based on our focus on floating offshore wind farms. We also hope that the partnership will contribute to finding solutions to the bottlenecks we’re all facing,” said Olivier Tretout, CEO of Nantes Saint-Nazaire Port.

“ABP is the UK leader in supporting the growth in offshore green energy, particularly today on the Humber where we already host major manufacturing facilities and operations and maintenance bases. We’re excited to be working with leading peers across Europe to unlock the significant potential of offshore wind to decarbonise the UK,” said Andrew Reay, Head of Offshore Wind, Associated British Ports (ABP).


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