Bremen Senate is not irritated by critical questions: The offshore terminal is to come. BUND wants to take legal action against port construction.
Components for the Alpha Ventus offshore wind farm being shipped. Photo: Ingo Wagner (dpa)
"Only an offshore terminal can justify the major intervention in nature," Green environmentalist Anne Schierenbeck stressed in the parliamentary debate on the planned offshore terminal in Bremerhaven (OTB). This must become a "port for renewable energies," she said. Of course there are risks, she said: "We all don’t know what the future holds," but it’s also clear: "The energy turnaround is coming, and the expansion is only just getting underway."
For Bremen’s red-green coalition, of course, it’s also about economic growth and jobs, and about sending a signal to Bremerhaven, which is in dire straits. And if this offshore terminal is not needed later for windmills, the port facilities can be used differently, it is said behind closed doors. The Bremerhaven FDP member of parliament Hauke Hiltz said it quite openly: The offshore quay is the last chance to increase port capacities in the maritime city once again.
However, the parliamentary group of the Left Party did not want to let the Bremen Senate get away with it so simply. If it were just a matter of another quay, the approval process would have no chance, explained Nelson Janben, a member of parliament. Siemens’ decision in favor of Cuxhaven changed the situation, he said. "Siemens’ decision to locate in Cuxhaven does not play a role in this context," the Senate replied defiantly. However, it turns the Bremen investment into purely regional lobbying, after all, the wind energy companies could go ten kilometers further to Cuxhaven.
The forecast, according to which the OTB investment will pay off for Bremen, works with various "ifs": because it’s about the decade between 20. No one can currently say which way the wind will blow then. The only thing that is clear is that if no terminal is built in Bremerhaven, the success story of the "wind energy cluster" there will be over. If, on the other hand, the federal government continues to promote the expansion of offshore wind farms and more companies settle in Bremerhaven and these companies increase Bremerhaven’s market share from the current 26 percent to around 50 percent – if, if, if – yes, then in 30 years it would be said that the investment decision from 2015 was forward-looking.
Martin Rode, BUND executive director
"The assumptions for the OTB are now completely utopian"
"The assumptions for the OTB are meanwhile completely utopian," said BUND managing director Martin Rode, on the other hand. The federal government therefore wants to block construction by taking legal action.
A citizens’ initiative around the entrepreneur Ingo olkers, who particularly wants to see the Luneplate airport preserved, has collected 3,613 signatures for a petition. There are two industrial wind energy companies in Bremerhaven, olkers says, and the businessman has taken a closer look at them: There’s Senvion, a company that makes money from onshore turbines and only makes losses with its offshore division, he says. The other company, he said, is Adven, and it can only hold on because its debts are being offloaded to the French parent company Areva. Areva’s loss carryforward is 2.1 billion euros, Oelkers says.
Quite officially, Bremen’s economic policy assumes that the wind energy industry will have to be helped through a lean period. Until it really starts humming, sometime in the 2020s. Then, according to the Senate’s profitability calculations, 3,000-4,000 jobs will be created in Bremerhaven – when the terminal is completed.