Wind energy companies Norther and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy establish themselves in a new building in the Port of Oostende
Oostende, 8 am | At the REBO terminal in the Port of Oostende, technicians move around before leaving to carry out the daily maintenance of the wind turbines. CTVs (crew transfer vessels) pick up the technicians at specially equipped pontoons. Every day about 20 CTVs with an average of 12 people each sail in and out of the port of Oostende.
A few metres away there is a brand new building. Two international companies from the wind energy sector: Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and Norther, officially move in here today. Once they are fully operational, together they will employ 35 local people.
The Port of Oostende has paid for the entire investment. They decided to build a much larger building than there were contracts. The offshore wind market in Oostende is still in full expansion and this is anticipated by providing extra warehouses and offices.
For the other spaces, there are already such far-reaching contacts that the Port of Oostende is convinced they will be occupied by the beginning of next year. In total this new building will provide 900 m² of warehouse space and 2100 m² of offices.
The architect of this building and of the traffic management plan, is MOP Urban Design. The studies were conducted by COBE (stability) and Istema (technique). The main contractor is Alheembouw from Oostnieuwkerke, with as main subcontractors: Van Vooren (electricity) and SPIE (HVAC).
Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy
Last summer Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy built the 42 turbines of the Rentel wind farm (40 kms from the coast). Their local department is now responsible for the daily maintenance of these 42 giants with a maximum capacity of 7.35 MW. An Stroobandt, CEO Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy: "In our branch in Oostende we employ about 15 local people. We are looking forward to further expansion and growth for ourselves and for our suppliers in the coming years.”
Norther is the sixth offshore wind farm off our coast (at 23 kms). It is currently under construction and has a maximum production capacity of 370 MW (44 wind turbines).
Thierry Aelens, operations & maintenance manager: "Norther is currently the largest Belgian offshore wind farm. In the third quarter of 2019, the wind farm will be fully operational and will annually supply almost 400 000 Belgian households with electricity. Norther will manage the wind farm with about 20 employees from Oostende."
The arrival of Norther and Siemens Gamesa shows that the Port of Oostende succeeds in its aim to develop a firm and international offshore wind business cluster. Dirk Declerck, CEO Port Oostende: "It is the mission of the Port of Oostende to realize growth, accompanied by the creation of sustainable employment. Because the needs of the companies that build and operate the wind turbines are constantly evolving in line with the trends in high technology, the port will continue to invest in accurate infrastructure.”
Johan Vande Lanotte, Chairman of the Port of Oostende: "We are conscious of the opportunities of wind energy, now and in the future and that is why the international wind turbine companies feel at home in Oostende. Thanks to the offer of training courses, local employees are attracted and thus the offshore wind sector becomes interwoven in the economic fabric of the city. The offshore industry now employs more than 460 people in Ostend. For the most part, this is local employment in maintenance and operation of the wind farms. It doesn't include employment in the construction of the wind farms.”