Offshore wind farms in the North Sea are big business these days, and that has helped boost profits despite declining goods tonnage for Denmark's key port on the west coast, Esbjerg. Financial daily newspaper Børsen reports that despite total tonnage falling by 18%, Port of Esbjerg posted record results for 2008 with turnover up 10% to DKK 119.1m (USD 21.8m) and profit both before and after tax* up 12% to DKK 41.2m (USD 7.5m).
Wind turbines are the secret of Esbjerg's success. Last year the port shipped out 111% more wind turbine components, and handling of the many and increasingly large offshore wind turbines is generating a healthy cashflow from rental of the port's storage areas and mobile cranes.
Børsen writes that Port of Esbjerg's board of directors has formulated a strategy to 2019 which involves an investment programme of approx. DKK 1bn (USD 183m) which will go into new infrastructure and reorganising the port's facilities to create more space for wind turbines in a brand new south harbour.
What will soon be the world's largest offshore wind farm – Horns Rev 2 – is currently under construction in the North Sea, with all the hardware being shipped out from Port of Esbjerg. A total of 91 wind turbines, each towering 115 metres (377 feet) above the waves, will generate a combined total of 209 MW, enough to cover the electricity demand of 200,000 Danish households and businesses.
*Port of Esbjerg pays neither tax nor dividends, and can reinvest everything it earns – Ed.