OWIC is an information, training and innovation centre for companies and institutions involved in generating offshore wind energy. A total of 19 parties - businesses, knowledge institutions and government bodies - have joined forces in OWIC to ensure that companies can innovate and develop in offshore wind energy more easily and quickly.
The focus is on service and maintenance of the wind farms. OWIC wants to be the counter where people can go for information and for making relevant contacts. OWIC will also set up facilities for training and education in the field of offshore wind energy. Eemshaven is the perfect base and service port for this purpose because of its location, the entire supply chain in place, a helicopter landing and take-off area and the potential for many more planned wind turbines in the North Sea.
The need, importance and scope of green energy - from wind and sun - are increasing. In particular, offshore wind energy will continue to grow in the coming years. Part of it will be generated off the Wadden coast. These offshore wind farms not only have to be built, but also maintained. There are major economic opportunities here for (new) business activity, knowledge sharing and innovations. By expanding the innovative capacity in the region, OWIC wants to further increase and utilise the opportunities that the construction and maintenance of these wind farms offer the business community, knowledge institutes and governments.
The role of offshore wind is not only growing in importance in the Dutch energy mix, its economic importance is also increasing. Both in terms of turnover and employment, this sector can now be called significant and has been growing for years. A 2018 study conducted by PWC found that the sector's direct and indirect contribution to the Dutch economy is around €2.2 billion and that it accounts for around 6,400 FTEs in employment. In a baseline scenario calculated by PWC, growth could continue to €4 billion in sales and 11,200 FTE of (in)direct employment by 2030.
The realisation of these offshore wind farms has also been very profitable for the Northern Netherlands: in the past 10 years, a total turnover of approximately 1.6 billion euros has been realised, of which approximately 10% was generated in Eemshaven itself. Furthermore, 300 to 600 man years of employment have been created. It is expected that with the construction of the new offshore wind farms north of the Wadden Islands, these numbers will increase tenfold.
Wind farms in the North Sea also play a major role in the diversification and sustainability of the energy mix. Hydrogen has an important role to play here. At times when there is more wind power than users need, the power can be converted into hydrogen. The green energy generated at sea can then be used in gaseous form in industry or mobility, or temporarily stored underground. Hydrogen produced by electrolysis with green electricity or from biomass is often called green hydrogen. For the production of green hydrogen, it is important that sufficient sustainably generated electricity is available. An important source for this are the planned developments for the expansion of wind at sea. The Eems Delta industry's route to a negative CO2 balance in 2050 shows that, in addition to biomass (as fuel, but also feedstock), 7 GW of wind energy alone will be needed.
As a construction and service port, Eemshaven has a promising lead position in the realisation of the Dutch and German wind parks. Eemshaven has played an important role in the assembly and logistical handling of wind turbines since 2009, partly thanks to its offshore wind experience and the presence of all the necessary (nautical) facilities. This has led to an impressive track record of wind farms constructed via Eemshaven: 17 wind farms to date. Eemshaven is geographically very favourable for offshore wind activities in the North Sea and the port meets all maritime requirements.
In recent years, Eemshaven has not only grown into an important base port for offshore wind logistics, but also into a service port for the maintenance of wind turbines installed at sea, especially for the wind farms in the German part of the North Sea. This makes Eemshaven a logical, well-equipped and conveniently located base port for the further development of the offshore wind industry.