Provincial Development Agency (POM) delegation pays a working visit to Bremen – Bremerhaven offshore wind energy sector boosts the regional economy
Bremen, GERMANY - At the beginning of July, a Provincial Development Agency (POM) delegation, augmented with representatives of Flanders’ Maritime Cluster (the network organisation for the marine and maritime industry in Flanders), KHBO (Catholic University College of Bruges-Ostend), HOWEST University College West Flanders, the Port of Oostende, Ghent University, Greenbridge science park and Sirris (the collective knowledge centre for the Belgian technological industry), set off for Northern Germany for a tightly scheduled and especially informative working visit.
This visit tied in with the expansion of the West Flanders Blue Energy ‘Factory of the Future’, which is wholly dedicated to offshore (wind) energy. The purpose of the visit was to meet the relevant players and to define in more detail their role in the development of the sector. The visit was hosted by Wirtschaftsförderung Bremen GmbH (the agency that develops and markets Bremen as a location for business, trade fairs and events), which arranged an especially well-filled and interesting programme for us.
The offshore wind energy sector in Bremerhaven is booming. That much is clear. And a regional economic boom was sorely needed, given that only a decade ago Bremerhaven was struggling with high unemployment, with an unemployment rate in excess of 20%. At that point it was decided that the efforts of the various public authorities should be directed at developing a recovery plan together with industry. Hence, during our visit we got to see the results of 10 years of coordinated and coherent policy and we identified the success factors that contributed to such a recovery.
The visit provided us with a great deal of inspiration for the development of the offshore sector in West Flanders and beyond. The model being implemented in Bremerhaven-Bremen cannot simply be transposed to our region, but people are now working hard to define the right actions and embedding them in a long-term strategy so that the first steps can be taken. POM West Flanders and Flanders’ Maritime Cluster are involving a wide range of players in this process. All in all, the industrial developments that have occurred over the last three years are simply a foretaste of what promises to be a tremendous economic opportunity for the region in the medium term.