German Energy Policy Boosts Demand for Marine Energy Cable Handling and Transport

German Energy Policy Boosts Demand for Marine Energy Cable Handling and Transport

German Energy Policy Boosts Demand for Marine Energy Cable Handling and Transport

The planned construction of offshore wind power parks in the North Sea and Baltic Sea can only prosper if specialist port services providers, suppliers and manufacturers work together closely and if the public sector provides the necessary financial support.

That was the conclusion reached at the Rhenus Midgard press conference at the “2011 EWEA OFFSHORE” trade fair in Amsterdam. The following services provided by the port logistics company Rhenus Midgard are particularly in demand – warehousing, handling and transporting marine energy cables. They link wind turbines at sea with the control system on the mainland.

 “More than EUR 1 billion has already been invested in port infrastructure at German seaports, including production facilities and logistics. This partner-like commitment from the public and private sectors is a clear signal for the rapidly growing domestic and international offshore wind energy market,” says Andreas Wagner, Managing Director of the German OFFSHORE Wind Energy Foundation.

Rhenus Midgard has felt the benefits too. One of the world’s leading cable manufacturers recently placed an order with the port specialist to store and transship marine energy cables for the internal cabling at a wind farm. The materials transshipped at Nordenham in the German state of Lower Saxony will be used for the internal cabling of a Danish wind park in the Baltic Sea in future.

“We’ve successfully completed our market entry in the marine energy cable business. After completing several transshipment and warehousing projects, we’re very happy to see that the demand for offshore services continues to remain high and that more cooperation arrangements with cable manufacturers, energy suppliers and wind park operators are in the pipeline,” says Björn Wittek, who is responsible for the offshore wind energy business unit at Rhenus, summarizing the situation.

Employee owned marine engineering company, Houlder has announced its award winning Turbine Access System (TAS), fabricated at MKW Engineering, has been successfully Load Tested in the presence of Lloyds Register. The TAS, developed with BMT Nigel Gee, is designed to provide safe and reliable access for personnel between typical workboats and offshore wind turbine structures. As well as enhance safety, TAS has been designed to extend maintenance, installation and commissioning operability compared to current transfer methods. It achieves this by enabling crew transfer via a lightweight, motion compensated gangway installed on the bow. In contrast to other transfer systems, the TAS does not require vessel dynamic positioning (DP) or any part to be attached to the turbine structure itself. This unique approach won Houlder the Spirit of Innovation award at the 2011 Seawork exhibition and the project recently gained Carbon Trust funding.  This first TAS unit is destined for Turbine Transfer’s new 19m ‘Caernarfon Bay’ workboat and an extensive Sea Trials programme is planned for early next year. Rupert Hare, Houlder’s Managing Director commented “Seeing the Turbines Access System take shape is testament to the talents of our team and partners.  2012 is going to be an exciting year for Offshore Wind and we’re delighted we’ll be playing our part.”

Rhenus Midgard operates a pier at Nordenham, which is specially geared to transshipping marine energy cables. The port specialist will transship several tens of thousands of meters of submarine power cables for offshore wind farms for Norddeutsche Seekabelwerke GmbH (NSW), a cable manufacturer located in the close vicinity, by the middle of next year. These cables are set to be used to connect various offshore wind farms.

Rhenus Midgard is planning to further expand the Nordenham business site and turn it into a marine energy cable logistics center in conjunction with Offshore Marine Management (OMM), an independent provider of maritime solutions for the offshore wind industry. Germany’s largest private port, which is also open for use by other operators, provides direct access to the North Sea and permits short journeys and rapid repair services. The deep navigable waters of the Weser River with their lock-free access to the wind parks at sea, the well-developed infrastructure and warehouse capacity, which can be used in a flexible manner, are the hallmarks of Nordenham. The Rhenus subsidiary is currently storing a fairly large number of cable drums on behalf of OMM and they will be used at an offshore substation; Rhenus Midgard is also warehousing additional materials for the cabling at the wind park.

“What makes the facility in Nordenham special beyond the convenient location is the unique relationship we have developed with the Rhenus Group who provide a complimentary set of skills and competences from the physical cable handling requirements through vessel logistics to the required security arrangements,” says Stephen Bolton, Director of Operations and Maintenance of OMM, summarizing the situation.

Offshore Marine Services (OMS), the German subsidiary of OMM, has also been using the Steubenhöft Terminal at the port operator Cuxport in Cuxhaven as an operating base for wind parks in the North Sea for several months. On account of its geographical proximity to the wind parks, Cuxhaven not only acts as a production and installation port, but also as a multi-purpose terminal that is suitable for maintenance and servicing work. The port operator Cuxport not only provides OMS with extensive storage facilities on an area measuring 12,000 square meters, but also freight forwarding and transshipment services – for example, handling material and lubrication containers or spare parts for the projects out at sea.


Offshore WIND staff, November 30, 2011; Image: Rhenus AG & Co. KG