BPO Offshore Wind Conference at the second day of the Transport Week 2024 in Gdynia

Mar 13 2024

BPO Offshore Wind Conference at the second day of the Transport Week 2024 in Gdynia

Offshore wind energy is one of the leading topics in the industry. For this reason, the Baltic Ports Organization decided to take a closer look at this issue. The second day of the event was fully devoted to the opportunities and challenges that Baltic ports face in this respect. The points discussed included current projects in the BSR and the possibilities of achieving EU and Baltic targets for offshore wind energy capacity for 2030.

Important topics of discussion also covered the logistic chain of the construction of offshore wind farms, the development of offshore wind energy in the context of the port spatial development plan and the offshore strategy of the port sector for BSR in the light of current challenges: growing demand, infrastructure deficiencies, rapid technological progress and ship shortages.

In his opening speech, Bogdan Ołdakowski (Baltic Ports Organization) welcomed all the guests and mentioned various opportunities and challenges of offshore wind energy for the Baltic ports.

Offshore wind development projects in the BSR today 

Mariusz Mazur (Ramboll Poland) compared the Baltic Sea with the North Sea in terms of offshore wind development projects. He evaluated that the wind conditions and potential are definitely present but what is needed in the Baltic Sea are: further supply chain development, especially as European product (using global experience and understanding the strengths), further investment regionally oriented and further regulations change including simplifications. Mariusz underlined that in his opinion Poland is more industrial country than any other with huge potential to be utilized if smart invested and supported.

Ocean Winds’ plans for offshore wind development in Poland were presented by Aleksandra Jampolska (Ocean Winds). She briefly discussed the BC-Wind Project that is being now developed close to Władysławowo (23 km from the coastline, to the north of Krokowa and Choczewo municipalities). The commencement of commercial operations is planned for 2027. Aleksandra also underlined the importance of knowing local regulations, requirements and business approach as OWF is still a very new topic. Additionally we need to remember that the Baltic Sea is a very specific region, called a big salty lake with UXO and CWA dumping areas, wrecks and very demanding weather in winter time.

What are the main challenges on the path to reaching EU’s and Baltic’s 2030 offshore wind capacity goals? Niels Malskær (The Royal Danish Embassy in Poland) pointed out to carefully observe the current political and economic situation and treat it as a lesson. Relying on your own resources is key here, so the offshore industry is a huge opportunity for our region to achieve this. On the other hand, Linas Sabaliauskas (Lithuanian Wind Power Association) stressed the importance of the end users of offshore wind energy. There is a great need to show its strengths and raise awareness of those who will actually use it, both at the local and global level. Lack of infrastructure to support OWF farms and financing issues remain still major obstacles according to Edgaras Trijonis (Moffatt & Nichol).

The role of ports in the success of offshore wind energy

Tom Saelens (DEME Group) presented the world leader’s highly specialised fields (dredging, land reclamation, marine infrastructure, offshore energy and environmental remediation). He also underlined the role of marshalling ports in offshore wind logistics – bunkering, crew changes, storage, repairs, assembly and handling in/out. According to DEME, an ideal marshalling port would be the one with 24/7 nautical access, close to OWF, priority quay usage, port rate structure (transparent – predictable, modern and adapted to offshore wind), proper bearing capacity, storage capacity and workforce (skilled and flexible call off regime). Lutz Dröge (DEME Group) mentioned 2 OWF – one close to Roenne and another one close to Mukran and also upcoming OWF in the Baltic Region giving examples from Poland and Germany. Polish locations were shown in both phase 1 and phase 2. At the very end he talked about the potential of further places in the region.

Subsequent panelists reflected on how to fit offshore wind development into port’s master plan and meet the requirements vital to a successful project. Jesper Bank (Port of Esbjerg) as a representative of the world's largest base port for offshore wind energy activities, shared his extensive experience and talked a lot about looking at the topic in a long-term perspective of 10-15 years. He said it is crucial to have an image outside your own waters and be as flexible as possible. Jesper also praised the significant increase in the level of dialogue within the industry and the growing understanding of how inevitable cooperation and port dependency are. Lech Paszkowski (Baltic Hub) represented the terminal that is currently facing all those new, big challenges as the T5 terminal will act as a deep-water base for the installation process of offshore wind farms, overlooking the waters of the outer part of the Port of Gdansk. Lech emphasized the lack of space in the port and sand sources which belong to the state treasury. He also talked about financial aspects and the need to repay loans. Patrick Walison (Royal HaskoningDHV) focused on defining the role that a given port wants and can play. According to him, in this business it is crucial to know your place very well in the game and remember about the continuity of the project.

Challenges and needs related to offshore wind projects in BSR

In his speech Patrik Hellman (Port of Kaskinen) concentrated on the overall situation in ports around the Gulf of Bothnia and in Finland generally and also planned OWF in the Gulf. He also talked about possible strategic roles for the potential ports – Pietarsaari, Nykarleby, Vaasa, Kaskinen and Kristinestad. Patrik also indicated the challenges for the ports: uncertainty of realization of any project, no possibility to fullfill all requirements in all project stages by one port, limited port capacity, the requirement of big investments, no possibility to make investments in advance (uncertainty of technical and other requirements), financing and profitability and time frame left to make required efforts.

Vitalij Muštuk (KLASCO) talked about creating new port capacity for the offshore wind industry in the Baltic Sea. In his speech he mentioned Denmark and Germany in a leading role, growing ambitions of Poland, Sweden and Finland and also first OWFs in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. He developed the topics of T5 terminal in Gdańsk, terminal in Świnoujście, Port of Klaipeda and Port of Tallinn’s new quay in Paldiski. As key challenges Vitalij indicated: investment requirement, BSR Focus (expected to accommodate 12,5% of Europe’s offshore wind fleet by 2030), port area availability, technological implications, service demands and lack of standarization.

BSR’s port sector’s offshore strategy in view of rising demand, gaps in infrastructure, rapid technological advancement and vessel undersupply was the last topic discussed at the conference. Margus Vihman (Port of Tallinn) talked about 3 European wind farm builders to establish a construction and maintenance port for offshore wind farms of the neighbouring region (North-West of Estonia) in the Paldiski South Harbour. The wind farms to be built in the area plan to start production in 2028, preceded by a 3-year construction period of the wind farms. Aneta Szreder-Piernicka (Szczecin and Świnoujście Seaports Authority) admitted that the business model is very similar to the Estonian one, but the operator signed a contract for 30 years, so it is a different perspective of cooperation.

Initial meeting of BPO Offshore Wind Energy Working Group

Just after the conference, it was time for the first working meeting. Bogdan Ołdakowski, BPO Secretary General started the session during which the participants discussed the perspectives for OWF in the Baltic, investments in ports, main challenges (high Capex, use of the terminals) and competition issue. The group also specified its main tasks: learning the logistics of construction process of OWF, learning the O&M process, business model for port investments and study visits to existing terminals in Europe.