Arjen Schutten, Managing Director Holland Home of Wind Energy
With growing interest, the offshore wind market is not only getting more competitive, but is also expanding to other markets outside Europe. We ask what is needed to position the Dutch sector on new emerging markets in Asia and North America. Arjen Schutten, Managing Director Holland Home of Wind Energy (HHWE), answers.
HHWE was founded about seven years ago by Dutch wind energy companies that wanted to combine forces to participate in the international wind energy market. The organization represents The Netherlands at international trade fairs, organizes trade missions and regularly invites foreign stakeholders to come to the Netherlands to experience the Dutch approach to offshore wind.
“We initially focused on China, but that has widened to other Asian countries such as Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and India, as well as the United States and France. Countries with landed coastlines,” Schutten explains. The main focus is offshore wind. “In that area lies the greatest strength of the Dutch sector, with renowned knowledge institutions and installation companies. Moreover, the sector has experts in the field of operations & maintenance and the design and construction of ships that are needed. All in all a huge supply chain.”
A lot of expertise
“We also increasingly support small and medium-sized businesses, that, following the big companies, successfully bring their innovation to the market” Schutten adds. “Think of companies that sell special handling equipment or service providers in the field of corrosion control. There is a lot of innovation here with huge export potential. ” He points out ‘motion compensated gangway’ solutions, which make it easier to work at sea, as well as new pile driving technologies, which reduce under water noise significantly. “More and more companies from the traditional oil and gas industry enter the offshore wind market. These companies harbor a lot of expertise.”
What can also be beneficial for the sector, according to Schutten, is a less fragmented landscape of intermediaries, currently consisting of, for example, HHWE, the Netherlands Wind Energy Association (NWEA) and IRO, the association of Dutch suppliers in the oil, gas & offshore renewables industry. “Ideally we create a one stop shop so that Dutch companies and foreign stakeholders have just one point of contact, which would also help to strengthen branding of the Netherlands abroad. Therefore we are currently working with the Dutch government on a new branding story for the offshore wind sector called “Wind and Water Works, a clear message to the outside world about the unique selling points of the Dutch.”
The role of the Dutch government should not be underestimated, says Schutten. “When we invite foreign stakeholders to the Netherlands we not only put connect them with the business community, but we also include Dutch government policy in the visits. Our government has become very proactive and operates in an innovative way. It, for instance, has taken it upon itself to arrange all necessary permits for new offshore wind parks, so that companies only have to make a bid. This new policy has been very effective and can be a blueprint for other countries.”
At the same time a modest attitude is required. Other countries naturally do not want the Dutch sector to take over completely, according to Schutten, since they have an interest in developing a healthy offshore wind sector themselves. “So we have to seek partnerships with local companies and share our knowledge and experience. Taiwan, for example, has communicated very clearly its desire to build up a local supply chain, which gives us the opportunity to play a role in the development of the right partnerships to make this happen.”