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Newsletter - September 2008

Developing the North Sea Offshore Wind POWER Cluster


This newsletter marks the beginning of a project called “POWER cluster - Developing the North Sea Offshore Wind POWER Cluster”. For a course of three years, the project, set up by eighteen partners from six countries (DE, UK, DK, NL, NO, SE), will push the further development of offshore wind energy (OWE) in Northern Europe in general and in the participating North Sea regions especially.

 
Photo: POWER clusterThe POWER cluster project was approved under the North Sea Region (NSR) Interreg IVB Programme. Being a direct successor of the NSR Interreg IIIB funded Pushing Offshore Wind Energy Regions project (POWER) core project activities include a strengthened stakeholder and business-to-business network, leading to knowledge transfer and bringing together complementary expertise to create more innovation in the sector.
 
Furthermore skills training courses (including higher education and addressing unemployment) will be developed to create benefits for restructuring regions, and the project partners will work to raise the social acceptance for offshore wind energy among the wider public and key stakeholders as a basis for the wider roll-out of the technology.
 
The POWER cluster partners are glad to keep you updated on offshore wind energy issues in general and POWER cluster activities and output in specific via the project web-site and newsletter.
 
 
A new challenge – a new project!
The POWER cluster project partners realize that the offshore wind industry is at a turning point with the first large scale offshore wind farms being built over the next couple of years, and the industry still to overcome substantial challenges.
 
While it is clear that there is a degree of competition between the POWER cluster regions, there is a clear benefit of establishing a real offshore wind power cluster with close relationships between the companies in the different regions, both for the economic regeneration of the involved regions, and for confirming the North Sea Region as the global engine for the offshore wind industry.
 
According to studies conducted by Douglas-Westwood Ltd towards the end of the Interreg IIIB POWER project, “the POWER region is the world leader in offshore wind (...). This is not enough to ensure the successful development of offshore wind projects in the region. Actions must be taken to increase knowledge and build relationships between individual regions and the companies in them.” Also “.... there is a need to gain more thorough understanding of actual supply chain capabilities throughout the POWER region”, also in order to be able to compete on a global scale.
 
As offshore wind farms are spreading throughout Europe and the rest of the world social acceptance has become recognised as a crucial barrier for the successful implementation of wind energy – both on land and offshore. Opinion polls from North Sea Regions indicate high acceptance towards wind energy, but still now and then there are reports on resistance to the roll out of the technology – especially from the local level where people find themselves uninformed or misinformed about wind energy projects. Thus, cross boarder social acceptance of the technology is a key issue for reaching the ambitious national and international targets set for offshore wind energy and the fight against climate change and for the further development of the offshore wind industry in the North Sea regions.
 
Finally, the project partners recognize that there is and will be a lack of wind energy educated people to comply with the ever growing demand for skilled workforce within the offshore industries. This is so for all kind of personnel, from service technicians to scientists at PhD level. In several of the countries around the North Sea there are very few or no educational offers at all dealing with wind power and especially offshore wind power. Thus the POWER cluster partners will adapt and prepare the skills and qualifications of the NSR workforce to the needs of OWE industry.
 
 
What is a cluster about?
The economist Michael Porter popularized the concept of industry clusters in his book The Competitive Advantage of Nations (1990). Porter developed the “Diamond of Advantage” that is four factors he determined create a competitive advantage for firms. The four corners of the diamond include factor conditions, demand conditions, industry strategy/rivalry, and related and supporting industries. 
 
Porter used this diamond to determine which firms and industries had competitive advantages, and his emphasis of the importance of related and supporting industries encouraged interest in clusters.  While his original thesis was applied to nations as a whole, Porter recognized that the majority of economic activity takes place at the regional level. Thus, his ideas are commonly applied to cities and regions.
 
Michael Porter claims that clusters have the potential to affect competition in three ways:
  • by increasing the productivity of the companies in the cluster
  • by driving innovation in the field
  • by stimulating new businesses in the field
Since the early 1990ties the cluster concept has been subject to great discussion and has developed considerably. The Power cluster project intends to contribute to the discussion by highlighting the implications of the cluster concept for the offshore wind sector. 
 
 
POWER cluster partner profile
A recurring feature of the Power cluster newsletters will be a short presentation of the involved project partners and regions. In this first volume of the newsletter the projects’ lead beneficiary BIS from Bremerhaven, Germany, is portrayed.
 
BISBremerhaven Economic Development Company GmbH is partner for the already existing businesses, start-ups and potentially interested external businesses in Bremerhaven. Three departments are working in the fields of economic development, infrastructure and tourism development as a one stop agency on behalf of the City of Bremerhaven and the State of Bremen.
 
The Lead Beneficiary of the “POWER cluster” project is located in the first department of BIS GB I economic development, technology subsidies, location marketing and acquisition.
 
For BIS the transnational cooperation in the field of offshore wind energy is an important precondition for establishing Bremerhaven as an Offshore Wind Energy Competence Centre.
 Photo: Dr. Mathias Grabs, BIS
BIS has already been working as Lead partner in the former Interreg III B project „Pushing Offshore Wind Energy Regions – POWER“. Altogether with 28 partners from 9 North Sea regions a North Sea Competence Network for Offshore Wind Energy has been structured.
 
At the same time BIS has been established the north German 'Centre for the Production and Installation of Offshore Wind Turbines' in Luneort, an industrial estate in Bremerhaven.
 

Luneort in the Southern Fishery Harbour of Bremerhaven (2008)
 
Embedded within a sector-specific infrastructure, the 80-hectare site, directly located at the seagoing vessel-deep water, offers everything the wind energy industry needs:
  • production and assembly areas for making foundations, towers, nacelles and rotor blades, as well as for storage and final assembly,
  • traffic areas with the load-bearing capacity and dimensions for gravity-driven industrial trucks for offshore components,
  • test stand for complete nacelle systems, deepwater cargo handling terminal with connection to inland waterways.  

 

 

Photo: Birger Haraldseid, Greater StavangerSneak premiere on POWER cluster at the ONS Stavanger, Norway 
Although project kick-off is not until the end of September 2008, visitors at the Offshore Northern Seas exhibition in Stavanger (ONS 2008), which took place from August 26th to 29th, witnessed a POWER cluster project sneak premier as the Norwegian project partner, Greater Stavanger displayed the project and handed out the POWER cluster flyer from its stand in the renewable energy exhibition hall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Meet Power cluster partners at the HUSUM WindEnergy 2008 fair, Germany
From the 9th to 13th September 2008 partners of the POWER cluster project will be present at the HUSUM WindEnergy 2008. You are invited to meet BIS and the German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation at the joint stand of the Wind Energy Agency Bremerhaven/Bremen e. V. in hall 4 at stand 4B06.
 
 
Events where to find POWER cluster project
  • September 9 to 13: POWER cluster to be present at Husum WindEnergy 2008 in Husum, Germany.
  • September 21 to 23: POWER cluster project kick-off meeting in Stavanger, Norway.
  • September 23: POWER cluster project presentation at the Interreg IVB NSR Transnational Cooperation Seminar on Energy in Aberdeen, United Kingdom.
  • September 30: POWER cluster project presentation at the German INTERREG IV B NSR Conference in Husum, Germany.
  • November 26 to 27: POWER cluster project presentation at biennial German Wind Energy Conference (DEWEK) in Bremen, Germany.
For more information about these events or the POWER cluster project, please contact:
 
Project lead beneficiary
Dr. Mathias Grabs
Phone: 49 (0)471 946 467 41
 
Project management
Dipl.- Geogr. Kathrin Rath
Phone : 49 (40) 657 903 76
 
Project newsletter responsible 
Thomas Jensen
Phone: 32 22 34 68 52
Email: newsletter@power-cluster.net

 

 

The next POWER cluster newsletter will be distributed mid November 2008

 

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