The UK-based energy business analysts Douglas-Westwood, which has just published a new edition of its World Offshore Wind Market Report, reckons that the port of Esbjerg on Denmark's west coast is in a good position to capitalise on the huge potential of offshore wind in the North Sea if it plays its cards right, reports financial daily newspaper Børsen.
Douglas-Westwood's chairman John Westwood told Børsen: "We have previously analysed the potential of every single port around the North Sea, and we see Esbjerg as having a strong position. The harbour has the necessary water depth for wind turbine transport ships, and has sufficient quay space. But most important of all, the port operator has significant experience with meeting the needs of the offshore industry."
The UK is the world's leading offshore wind market, and is set to remain so for the immediate future as it embarks on Round 3 of its national plan, where a further 25 GW of offshore wind capacity are on the drawing board. Esbjerg has good credentials for getting a slice of this coming action, since it has already been successfully tried and tested as a base for building UK offshore wind farms.
And then there is the matter of Germany's Siemens, that wants to build a giant factory for its offshore wind turbines in a port with good logistical access to the North Sea. Esbjerg has been in discussions with Siemens for some time, but John Westwood cautions that the port needs to play its cards right to land the business.
"There are 18 ports within a radius of 120 nautical miles of the prospective wind parks in the southern sector of the North Sea, so there is a lot of competition pressure. Bremerhaven will work especially hard to get the Siemens project," says Westwood. "It really comes down to how much effort, and money, the Danish national and local authorities are ready to put into this to get the business. Briefly stated, Esbjerg has to be ready to make a really good offer."