Emden has been at the forefront of renewable energy for many years we talk with the Mayor of Emden Mr. Bernd Bornemann on what its future may hold.
Mr. Bornemann, why would a company from the wind energy sector decide to settle down in Emden?
Emden incorporates all the factors a good location should offer: The port of Emden has been recognised for many years as an important partner in the market for renewable energy sources. The port is not only the third largest and most Western German North Sea port, but also scores highly with long-standing experience in the wind energy sector. Until now components for both onshore and offshore systems are being produced, assembled and shipped in Emden. The port is used for several wind farms in the German bay as a base for the pre-assembly, transportation and maintenance of off-shore wind turbines and therefore can prove how well Emden is prepared for future investors and challenges. Due to the close proximity to many offshore wind farms currently being planned or built in the area, a lot of companies from the operation and maintenance sector are already here. For many years Emden has been serving as a production, service and handling site for wind turbines, the service providers located here have acquired in-depth knowledge from which you as an investor can benefit greatly.
Can you tell us something about the infrastructure?
The port consists of two parts, the tidal open outer harbour and the non-tidal inner harbour. In the past 25 years the port of Emden has evolved into one of the most important Ro-Ro ports, with 7 Ro-Ro berths and a powerful Ro-Ro ramp. Additionally, there are modern and highly-efficient quay facilities and terminals for the handling of solid and liquid goods of all kind. Ample storage space is available in close proximity to the quays. Furthermore, Emden has an excellent hinterland connection. You can directly access the German and Dutch motorway networks at Emden via the A31. The port facilities are connected to the rail network of Deutsche Bahn via two freight stations, and a direct connection to the inland waterway network already exists via the River Ems and the Dortmund-Ems Canal. Additionally, Emden Airport is conveniently located at the A31 and its commercial premises offer ideal opportunities, especially for helicopter service companies.
The wind energy sector is a fast growing market in Germany. Has Emden any plans to benefit from this development even more in the future?
Yes, Emden has the unique advantage of a huge port development area which lies lock-free directly at the water front. The area is called “Rysumer Nacken” and has an overall size of more than 700 ha from which nearly 500 ha can be developed as port areas. The Rysumer Nacken offers advantageous perspectives for the establishment of port related trade and industry as well as the construction of a waterside terminal with sufficient water depth for sea-going vessels. Objective is the establishment of further port development areas for companies which are active in the field of port industry as well as other port related utilisation such as a base for the offshore wind industry. The development of the area is a very important part of the further establishing of an offshore-industry not only in Emden but in the whole region.
As you mentioned the benefits of the region, is there a special cooperation between the regional stakeholders?
During the last years a strong economical network has been established in the region (the so called “Ems-Achse”). With regards to the wind industry, there are the “Emder Offshore Days”, a trade fair organised by the University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer and the Chamber of Industry and Commerce. At this trade fair, which will take place at the 05th and 6th of September 2013, all the regional stakeholders come together. Furthermore, MARIKO (The Maritime Competence Centre) in Leer is very busy in gathering and networking of maritime potential within the Ems Dollart Region. In addition to the regional activities there are also European projects in which Emden is involved. Here, the INTERREG IVC-project “4Power” comes to mind, in which Emden is one of 11 partners from different European regions. The aim of this project is to prepare EU regions for offshore wind developments by exchanging knowledge, experience and best practices. As you can see, on every level there is a lot of networking and exchange going on.
Last but not least: Is there something else a potential investor needs to know about Emden?
As an independent urban district Emden has the advantage to have all the important approving authorities consolidated under one roof. For an investor this means „short distances“ or „everything from a single source“. The sub-departments “Environment”, “Construction supervision”, “Urban planning” and “Business development”, which are important for an approval, work together in the „Department of urban planning and business development“. All settlement projects are centrally handled from this department with the focus on steering the processes in a costumer-orientated, optimised way.