You've been Programme Director for Borssele for half a year. In what way is this project different from Burbo Bank Extension?
The Netherlands is an emerging market with large potential. That is interesting. It is also a relatively new market for Ørsted and Borssele is our first Dutch project. I have been positively surprised by the good setup. The offshore wind market in the Netherlands is not the most mature market when you look at offshore wind capacity, but the authorities, infrastructure and supply chain are very professional.
As for the Borssele project I’m looking forward to working together with the Dutch stakeholders. For Ørsted it is very important to be a competent partner at both the national and local level. We are here for the long term. It is important to build good and strong relationships. I experienced that in Sweden, Denmark and the UK. Each project is different. You can never foresee all issues. That makes it extra important to build good relations, for example with the local community – our neighbors. We settled our O&M [Operation and Maintenance] base for Burbo Bank Extension in Liverpool and created a good relationship with the local community. We want to do exactly the same in Vlissingen, where we will create our O&M base for the Borssele wind farm.
What are your first impressions of Zeeland?
The infrastructure in the region is well suited for the type of project we are doing. The logistics are already there. The regional government welcomed us with open arms. That was a pleasant experience. During my first visit to Zeeland I received a photo book of pictures from above. It is amazing to see all the water and see all the structure. Everything is well thought out. We have the same challenges building a wind farm with all the water.
What are the biggest challenges for you with this Borssele wind farm project?
Our goal is to make a very professional entrance in the Dutch market and prove our reputation as a market leader. It is extremely important to build a team that works proactively and recognizes potential issues in time. The sector is mature and so are we. But of course we have to deal with new elements, like new permit requirements and new technology. We need to drive the project train smoothly and ensure everything is delivered on time.
When will the project team in Zeeland start its work?
That comes in two waves. First, there will be a team to build up the O&M facility. That is planned for the second quarter of 2018. Towards the end of 2019 we will start to build the actual wind farm, which is when the offshore team will be present in Zeeland.