Energy  |  Successes  |  22.06.2011

Offshore wind industry Bremerhaven

A deepwater port in the north-west region on Germany, Bremerhaven, has been able to dramatically turn around its economic fortunes by transforming itself into the focal point of Germany’s offshore wind industry.  The city of around 155,000 had been suffering from a steady economic decline and decreasing population since the end of the 1980s, and at the turn of the century the city council decided that drastic measures were needed.

Given that the city possessed well developed port infrastructure, a comprehensive maritime technology know-how base, and a skilled workforce specialised in shipbuilding, heavy machinery design and manufacture, the city was an attractive location to the emerging offshore wind industry. The city took a number of measures to attract investment from this sector, including adapting its port facilities and streamlining its planning permission procedures. Six wind industry hardware suppliers are now based in Bremerhaven, as well as two wind industry R&D organisations.
Germany intends to build at least 23 major wind farms in the North Sea and another nine projects in the Baltic Sea, with the final goal of 25–30 GW, operational by 2030. These projects require the technically demanding construction of large wind turbines in order to be economically viable, and Bremerhaven is well set to meet these requirements. Of the €500 million invested in the region in offshore wind power over recent years, about half was invested in Bremerhaven.

It is expected that wind power companies will created 1,000-1,200 skilled jobs in Bremerhaven. In order to continue this growth and meet the demand for highly-skilled engineers and other specialists, the University of Applied Sciences in Bremerhaven offers specialised undergraduate and postgraduate courses in wind energy, one of the first of its kind to do so.

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