"Our last port expansion took 12 years, only two of which were spent on the actual construction phase! We don't have that long this time - not us, not the companies and not the green transition. The long approval processes for port expansions, where the slightest unfounded complaint can have a suspensive effect, must be significantly shortened. of Otherwise, the political ambitions of multiplying offshore wind turbines in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea will end up as castles in the air," says Carsten Aa, CEO of Odense Port, and continues:
"The willingness to phase out coal and gas in favor of renewable energy sources like wind has never been greater in Europe and globally. We were the world's first country with offshore wind turbines at Vindeby and are now at the end of the rainbow and about to reap the rewards of 30 years of investment and technological advantages. It makes no sense to let it all go down the drain and drown in administrative constraints."
Climate and energy policy has become a matter of security policy, putting additional pressure on port capacity.
The high political objectives, coupled with the energy policy situation in Europe, have generated enormous demand for offshore wind. This cocktail has put a correspondingly significant strain on all parts of the long supply chain - not least on port and production facilities.
Political ambitions are commendable, but it requires that the path to the goal is not filled with obstacles that puncture the market and impede progress. With the upcoming capacity issues and slow regulatory processes hindering solutions, we risk handing the entire European offshore wind market to Asia on a silver platter.
As the demand for offshore wind energy continues, the war in Ukraine has had an accelerating effect in the EU, as climate policy and the green transition have become integral parts of European security policy. Simultaneously, there is a need to ensure an adequate energy supply and reduce dependence on Russian gas.
Opening speech opens up hope
It was uplifting when Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, in her speech at the opening of the Danish Parliament on 3 October, said:
"The physical expansion of the port itself takes about two years. The rest of the time is about conducting the necessary studies, applying, getting the project approved, and allowing for appeals. Let me tell you, they don't have that luxury in the rest of the world. If Denmark and Europe don't speed up, we not only fail our responsibility to accelerate the green transition but also lose the international competition for where the green businesses of the future establish themselves. (...) We set too many stumbling blocks for the climate fight."
This is a strong and appreciative signal to the Danish commercial ports that facilitate the wind sector and have based their investment strategy on facilities for the production, installation and shipping of wind components.
"I find the Prime Minister's statement incredibly positive. It speaks directly to our solution for the lack of port capacity, which is precisely a fast-track solution where the regulatory process for a port expansion should not take more than two years – thus, with construction time, we reach a maximum of four years from application to completed port expansion," says Carsten Aa.
We are ready to roll up our sleeves
At Odense Port, and among the other Danish wind ports, we look forward to the words turning into action, and we are more than willing to offer our expertise for constructive solutions. We, along with the Danish wind industry, are more than ready to contribute to political ambitions and facilitate the green transition. All it requires is that unnecessary administrative obstacles are removed and that politicians prioritise rolling out the red carpet for a faster process.