The green transistion needs a red carpet


Ports have become the hub of the green transition - and as Denmark's largest offshore wind production port, Odense Port has become an epicentre for offshore wind. Around 3,200 people clock in at the port every day - more than when the Lindø shipyard was told to shut down in 2009. In just 14 years, a sinking ship has been turned into a resounding success. BUT despite being Denmark's largest port, with 8.5 million square metres, we will run out of space within a few years.
Simply because the offshore wind market, including world-leading manufacturers like Vestas, have sent up a collective signal flare. As early as 2026, they will struggle to find the necessary space for their productions in Europe. Therefore, we have a plea to the politicians at Christiansborg: Launch a fast track scheme for the expansion of wind ports and roll out the red carpet asap so that we can continue to facilitate the green transition.

From shutdown - until we need more space!

In 2014, Odense Port took over Lindø Industrial Park, which was created after the closure of the Lindø shipyard in Munkebo. Ten years later, the transformation and value creation is palpable: the number of companies at the port in Munkebo has more than doubled to 120 and the number of jobs has more than tripled. And there is potential to create many more jobs in the future. Odense Port has also felt the growth. The port area has almost tripled in size, and both turnover and number of employees have more than quadrupled in the 10-year period since the acquisition of Lindø Industrial Park.

The development has not come by itself. We have always had an ambitious investment strategy that has focused on supporting growth, jobs and the green transition in the best possible way. And we had barely invested in a 400,000 square metre expansion, which was completed in 2020, before the new area was fully let.

The demand for quay metres and port areas for the production, storage and shipping of the enormous components for offshore wind turbines is so strong that Odense Port is already in full swing with preliminary studies for a new port expansion – now up to 1 million square meters.

Let's not turn our backs on the possibilities

One of the major obstacles for the wind industry is the lack of port capacity, as it is only at ports that offshore wind turbines can be manufactured and transported from, given the colossal size of the components. To illustrate the scale, the next generation of offshore wind turbines will be comparable in size to the Eiffel Tower!

Derfor er en hurtig godkendelsesproces af Odense Havns udvidelse af havn og sejlrende yderst kritisk i forhold til at kunne imødekomme fremtidens pladskrav fra producenterne af havvindmøller – og ikke mindst være i stand til at tage imod de stadigt større skibe, der skal transportere og installere mølledelene.

Therefore, a swift approval process for Odense Port's expansion of the port and fairway is crucial in meeting the future space requirements from offshore wind turbine manufacturers – and, not least, being able to accommodate the ever-larger ships needed to transport and install the turbine components.



Nacelle produktion på Odense Havn
It may sound like a luxury problem to have to say no to customers in a few years because you are sold out of space, but this is about something much bigger than simple port business:

  • It's about 30 years of massive investments in wind energy from the government and the Danish business community, which is why 40% of the EU's offshore wind market today is comprised of Danish companies.

  • It's about thousands of Danish green jobs and, ultimately, Denmark's and Europe's ownership of the green transition.

"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.

Vineyard transformerstation på vej ombord på skibet

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.