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Published: 10 January 2018      

Offshore wind "lifeline" for N W European ports

Offshore wind can potentially become the biggest source of energy in Northwest Europe. Furthermore it could be a lifeline for the greater Rotterdam port and industrial complex, which accounts for no less than 20% of all Dutch carbon dioxide emissions

So says Pieter van Oord, the CEO of Dutch dredging and maritime construction company Van Oord, in his speech of thanks as Rotterdam Port Personality of the Year 2017 at the awards ceremony.

Van Oord believes conversion of industry boilers from gas-firing to electricity and electricity storage to be among the biggest challenges, adding that hydrogen might provide the storage solution.

His high expectations for offshore wind - currently the mature third division of the Van Oord company next to dredging and offshore oil and gas - stems from the North Sea’s natural features: shallow with sandy bottom and windy almost all the time.

“Already, offshore wind provides more employment than offshore oil and gas, and there is a clear downward trend in cost so that its kilowatt price in the Netherlands is lower than that of coal powered plants," said Van Oord. "I’m convinced that offshore wind can live up to its potential without state subsidy.” He also believes that international shipping will make a major transition to LNG fuel in the next decade.

The biggest single challenge facing the Rotterdam port and industry complex, believes Pieter Van Oord, is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and he said that the Netherlands is lagging behind in energy transition. “Let Holland for once try to reverse this and become a forerunner," with more wind power promotion and subsidy in mind.

The 37th port entrepreneur to win the Rotterdam Port Personality award, Pieter Van Oord has headed up he family-owned group since 2008. Next to Boskalis, Van Oord is the only other major Dutch dredging and port construction group left.


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