Danish manufacturer of wind turbines MHI Vestas Offshore Wind has opened a new office in the Port of Ostend to expand its offshore wind operations at the Belgian port.
“Because we will be servicing no fewer than 244 wind turbines at sea from the Port of Oostende by 2020, we were in urgent need of expansion. This new location offers room for our new employees. Meanwhile, we now have over 100 employees in our Belgian branch,” says Aart Bark, Regional Director, MHI Vestas Belgium.
MHI Vestas Offshore Wind is already an established company in the offshore wind industry at the port facility. The MHI Vestas turbines in current Belgian wind farms are operated by Parkwind: Northwind (72 turbines), Belwind (55 turbines) and Nobelwind (50 turbines).
There are 44 wind turbines scheduled to be built in early 2019 at the Norther wind farm and Northwester II is planned for later in 2019, with a further 23 turbines of no less than 9.5 MW. MHI Vestas will monitor and maintain 244 wind turbines of different production capacities from the Port of Oostende by 2020.
The Port of Oostende has taken care of the full investment of €2 million. The total building has a capacity of 1300 m² office space and an extra 1000 m² of offices. The architect of the building and the traffic development plan is MOP Urban Design. The studies were carried out by COBE (stability) and Istema (techniques). The main contractor is Alheembouw from Oostnieuwkerke with the most important subcontractors: Van Vooren (electricity) and SPIE (HVAC).
“We proactively contribute to the expansion of the offshore wind business in our port. By establishing the needs of the market early on, we can invest in the necessary infrastructure so that the present partners can expand and new companies are attracted. This translates into permanent jobs, making the offshore wind sector even more interwoven in the region,” says Dirk Declerck, CEO of Haven Oostende.
More people and more buildings also brings more ships. A brand new hotel ship was already deployed in December 2017. The Esvagt Mercator has her home base in the Port of Oostende and is staffed by 36 offshore technicians who stay at sea for a duration of two weeks. In the near future, similar service vessels will be deployed from Oostende.
In addition to the hotel ships, there are also crew transfer vessels (CTVs) that take the technicians to sea. In 2013 MHI Vestas started with 1 CTV. In the meantime, 2 CTVs are permanently active. During the summer months, this number increases to 5 CTVs that take technicians to the wind farms. The Port of Oostende has already invested in new berths for these vessels.