Environmental association against wind power investment: bund wants to stop offshore terminal

According to BUND, the construction of the offshore terminal in Bremerhaven threatens a "gigantic bad investment." Critics are presenting their arguments until Wednesday.

There is competition for shipping offshore wind turbines via the planned terminal in Bremerhaven: here, for example, the "Offshore Basis" in Cuxhaven. Picture: dpa

BUND opposes the construction of the offshore terminal in Bremerhaven (OTB) and demands the termination of the planning process. This was stated by the Bremen regional association of the environmental protection organization on the occasion of a three-day discussion meeting in Bremerhaven. Critics of the new port construction still have until Wednesday to present their arguments in person.

"A gigantic public misinvestment is looming," BUND said. The terminal was designed for shipping 160 wind turbines, but this had become "completely unrealistic" in the meantime. Because "with the capacity limits decided by the federal government until 2030", "the construction of the OTB can no longer be justified".

In addition, BUND has doubts about the approval process: It is not the Bremen water authority that is responsible as the planning approval authority, but the Federal Waterways Administration. "Bremen is apparently trying to approve a superfluous major port itself." BUND wants to preserve the "FFH and bird sanctuary Weserwatt," which would have to give way for the OTB.

The SPD does not share the association’s stance. "We assume that the figures that are available are resilient and justify the investment," explained Frank Schildt, spokesman for port policy for the SPD parliamentary group.

For Klaus-Rainer Rupp, port politician for the Left Party, on the other hand, the question of the economic viability of the terminal could certainly be raised anew against the background of the EEG amendment. However, the established structures of the wind energy industry in Bremerhaven should not be endangered. A cancellation of the construction of the OTB could quickly be interpreted in the industry as a signal to move to Wilhelmshaven.

The Department of Economics and Ports is convinced that construction will go ahead. Department spokesman Holger Bruns explained that BUND’s critical stance is not new, and that there is "a very good level of discussion. A new habitat had already been created in advance near the Lune lock for the avocet, which lives in the Weserwatt bird sanctuary. With regard to the "regional economic potential" of offshore wind energy in Bremerhaven, the Senator for Economic Affairs had commissioned the consulting firm Prognos with a study. According to Prognos, Bremerhaven is a "unique cluster for offshore wind energy," it says in a presentation for the discussion meeting. There is "high potential, which can only be exploited with the OTB". The construction of the OTB would result in more than 8,100 new jobs by 2045, in the best case even more than 14,000 and at least 400 million euros in tax revenues.

The construction of the offshore terminal will cost Bremen around 180 million euros. The OTB could be ready in 2017. The planning approval process is still underway.