Denmark’s Minister for Climate: Collaboration will secure thousands of wind industry jobs in Denmark and in Esbjerg

Denmark’s Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities Dan Jørgensen visited the port of Esbjerg on 24 August on the release of a new report that concludes there will be thousands of jobs in the offshore wind industry for many years to come. “If businesses and organisations here in Esbjerg can successfully work together, Denmark can continue to be a benchmark to the world,” said Dan Jørgensen.

“Every time I go to Esbjerg, there is always something new going on,” said a face-masked Dan Jørgensen, Denmark’s Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities.

“And I actually come here fairly often,” he added with a smile.

The comment was made in a coach making its way around the port of Esbjerg. He was surrounded by businesspeople and politicians from Esbjerg and companies in the Danish energy sector.

The occasion for the visit was a new joint report released by Danish Shipping, Danish Energy and Wind Denmark. Its conclusion is there is a huge potential in offshore wind, and what we are seeing now is just the beginning. A Danish 1 GW wind farm will generate about 4,900 FTEs directly in Danish businesses, while the indirect and induced effects will add a further 9,600 FTEs, bringing the total to 14,600 FTEs.

In Esbjerg locally, the expected effect will run to a total of about DKK 16 billion during a wind farm’s useful life of 25 years. Discussions at EU level is to install 450 GW by 2050, so quite a lot of wind farms will have to be built to meet that target.

Great visions and ambitions

Before taking the tour around the port, the businesspeople, politicians and energy sector representatives attended a function in a tent erected at one of Esbjerg’s quays. In front of a standing room audience, with sanitising gel on the tables and coffee cups filled, Mr Jørgensen held a non-scripted speech stripped of party politics but filled with vision and ambition.

“We’re in the midst of a crisis, but the green transition is our way out. The new report shows that for each gigawatt of offshore wind we install, 15,000 FTEs will be created in Danish businesses. It will contribute to fuelling Danish society in the tears to come,” said Jørgensen.

He emphasised that although Denmark accounts for only 0.1 per cent of global carbon emissions, we can still make a difference by taking the lead in the green transition.

“We’re already a benchmark to the world because we have successfully effected the transition of our energy sector without jeopardising the reliability of supply, our employment or the economy, but we still have much more to do.”

"The new report shows that for each gigawatt of offshore wind we install, 15,000 FTEs will be created in Danish businesses. It will contribute to fuelling Danish society in the tears to come," said Dan Jørgensen, Denmark’s Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities, when he visited Port Esbjerg.
 

Esbjerg a city of opportunity

Visible through the plastic windows of the tent were hundreds of components for the wind turbines that are so important for the green transition, and which not only produce green energy but also lead to jobs and is the foundation of Denmark’s position as a first-mover country.

Nine out of ten wind turbines in Europe were shipped from the port of Esbjerg, and every second installation originated at Esbjerg. In other words, it is no coincidence that Jørgensen was making his speech at the port of Esbjerg.

“Esbjerg has businesses and organisations that can help us continue this trend. It’s my impression that everyone is prepared to chip in to work towards this goal, and you don’t see that just anywhere in the world,” he said.

Energy islands is the next step. There is broad political support for the idea, and the Danish parliament decided in June to explore the possibility of installing 2 GW offshore wind in the area off the Baltic island of Bornholm and building an energy island with at least 3 GW in the North Sea.

Currently, total installed capacity is 1.7 GW.

Challenges that need to be solved

Jørgensen believes the sector faces two challenges: Solving the issue of not being able to store wind energy and giving wind energy access to sectors where it is not being used today.

“Efforts are being made to convert wind energy into gas and possibly from there to make liquid fuel for aircraft. Huge sums are being invested to make that happen. Just think, if in a few years from now, we can generate power than can be converted into gas that can make an aircraft fly. That’s what makes Denmark a frontrunner on the global scene, but it will only happen if we work together,” he emphasised.

Denmark's Minister for Climate Dan Jørgensen (middle) and Esbjerg's Mayor Jesper Frost Rasmussen (left), joined the tour around the port and listened to Rasmus Errboe (right), Ørsted’s Head for Offshore Wind, Continental Europe, telling that Ørsted is shipping the last wind turbines destined for a Dutch wind farm with 94 turbines. 
 

Biggest port expansion in history

Esbjerg’s Mayor, Jesper Frost Rasmussen, took the floor after the Minister, and he confirmed that the port of Esbjerg is ready for the energy of the future.

“In order to bring our high ambitions to fruition, we need more space, and Esbjerg is ready to implement the largest expansion ever seen at a Danish port: One million square metres. When you talk about 15,000 jobs per GW, that is something we would like to get a share of here at Esbjerg. We have 250 highly skilled businesses here at the port, and we’re prepared to continue to support the current scope for growth and development. It requires a good infrastructure, a good business climate and good educational programmes to generate growth,” said Frost Rasmussen.

40 per cent of offshore wind value chain based in Denmark

Rasmus Errboe, who is Ørsted’s Head for Offshore Wind, Continental Europe, also spoke at the event. He emphasised three things in the report.

Firstly, the significant job creation generated through the private sector and in a green project. Secondly, local jobs would be created, Esbjerg being the perfect example since more than half of all offshore wind in Europe was installed from Esbjerg.

“I would also note that Denmark is an offshore frontrunner in Europe and globally, as 40 per cent of the value chain is based in Denmark. Therefore, when offshore wind is established in other countries, it’ll have an effect here, too. One GW of offshore wind anywhere in Europe adds DKK 10 billion to Denmark’s GDP. This is certainly no time for complacency. We have an obligation here,” said Errboe, as he reminded the audience that Europe currently has 24 GW installed, but the target is to reach 450 GW already by 2050.

“Currently, the industry is installing three to four GW per year. We need to increase that to 10 GW by the end of this decade and to 20 GW in the years that follow. In other words, we will soon need to install almost as much per year as was installed in total during the first 30 years of the offshore era. We will really have to step up the pace. And we must do all we can to develop Power-to-X. If we don’t I may not be back here in ten years’ time to give another enthusiastic speech!"

“Esbjerg has businesses and organisations that can help us continue this trend. It’s my impression that everyone is prepared to chip in to work towards this goal, and you don’t see that just anywhere in the world,” said Dan Jørgensen, Denmark’s Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities when he visited Port Esbjerg.
 

Last turbines for Borssele

When the last speaker had finished, the audience was led to two coaches and taken for a tour of the port. On the way, the Minister, again wearing a face mask, expressed how impressed he was by what he saw.

The same happened when he stepped out of the coach to look at the installation vessel Sea Challenger fully loaded with the last three wind turbines destined for the Dutch wind farms Borssele 1&2 which have 94 turbines.

“We’re delivering on time and within budget despite the coronavirus,” Errboe explained to the Minister.

Back on the coach, Port Esbjerg CEO Dennis Jul Pedersen explained that he hoped the port expansion could help attract factories to the port area.

“The tower components being manufactured today are so big that road transport is not an option, so the next step is to manufacture the components right here at the port,” he said.

At the same time, Jul Pedersen emphasised that if the success is to continue, Esbjerg must stay abreast of demand by investing for growth.

“If we run out of space, the foreign ports will win the contracts. And it’s essential that we can attract the necessary manpower. Thousands of highly skilled specialists will be needed at Esbjerg and in the rest of the offshore wind industry.”

According to the new report’s calculation formula, the target of the climate agreement approved by the Danish parliament to establish 5 GW offshore wind in connection with two energy islands and 1 GW off the island of Hesselø in the Kattegat will produce jobs corresponding to some 87,000 FTEs by 2030. Add to that the jobs involving turbine maintenance.

Port Esbjerg CEO Dennis Jul Pedersen (left) told, among others, Climate Minister Dan Jørgensen (right) and CEO of Danske Rederier, Anne Steffensen (left), about the port's plans to expand when the company took a trip around the port wearing a mandatory face mask.
 

Huge potential

The coach tour ended with a quick inland visit to Vattenfall for the Minister and selected members of the audience before ending the day at the company Jutlandia Terminals.

At the stand-up lunch event arranged in the tent, the rest of the audience discussed the Minister’s closing remarks, and their reaction was positive.

“Now, we’re talking about expanding by an additional 5 GW, and that means an opportunity to create thousands of jobs. We have a huge potential here,” said Jørgensen to a big applause.

About the new offshore wind study:

Consultants QBIS have mapped the national and local socio-economic effects of investing in offshore wind. This is the first in-depth analysis of how many jobs would be created, particularly in local regions next to where wind farms are built.

A Danish 1 GW wind farm will generate about 4,900 FTEs directly in Danish businesses,

Indirect and induced effects will add a further 9,600 FTEs, bringing the total to 14,600 FTEs.

A European 1 GW wind farm will generate about 3,100 FTEs in Danish businesses.

The report was commissioned by Danish Shipping, Danish Energy and the trade organisation Wind Denmark to explore the employment effects of investments in offshore wind – from a turbine is manufactured until it is decommissioned some 25 years later.

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