Esbjerg, the Energy Metropolis of Denmark
Why is Esbjerg an industrial Energy Metropolis?
Esbjerg is recognized as the Energy Metropolis of Denmark. As a service provider port for the Danish Oil and Gas industry and preassembly base port for Danish OEM´s in the Wind Industry, the city has a leading role in the development of the energy sector. Over 250 companies work in the industry and large investments are made in port infrastructure and base facilities.
World class energy experience
As the Danish gateway to the West, The Port of Esbjerg has since 1868 been a base for the fishing industry and Danish export goods. With the introduction of the oil and gas industry in the 1970s, the companies in Esbjerg seized the opportunity to expand and a new offshore cluster was born.
Oil and Gas:
In the early 1970s, oil was discovered in quantities that were worth exploiting for production. Oil extraction began with Danfeltet in 1972, and was headed by Dansk Undergrunds Consortium (DUC), which was comprised of A.P. Møller, Gulf and Shell. In 1979, approximately 200 people were employed in the oil industry in Esbjerg.
The early 1980s saw the start of production from the Gorm, Skjold and Tyra fields, and Esbjerg developed into a real offshore town. This, combined with the crisis in fishing at that time, resulted in Esbjerg’s fishery-related industries turning to the offshore industry to earn money. Employment in Esbjerg switched from fisheries to offshore, which currently accounts for 9,000 jobs – many more than ever existed in Esbjerg’s fisheries. In 1991, Denmark became oil independent, and energy independent in 1997. North Sea oil and gas production is of tremendous value to the national economy in terms of tax receipts and profits from the oil and gas production. In 2011, North Sea extractions brought in DKK 30.6 billion in tax receipts for Denmark.
The competences from the offshore industry made the evolution and development of the offshore wind industry possible with the installation of the world’s first offshore wind farm, Horns Reef 1, 10 km. off the coast of Esbjerg. The wind farm was made possible with the help of local offshore companies in Esbjerg who saw a potential market. The offshore wind industry is now a global industry and many more has joined the cluster and started to export their competences. The knowledge and knowhow in Esbjerg within the offshore wind industry is among the best in the world. Therefore, with the fact that more than 4 GW of offshore wind turbines have been through The Port of Esbjerg, we have the experience and knowledge to proclaim that we are the world’s leading port within offshore wind. With a potential Northern European Offshore Market of 40 GW by 2020 and 150 GW by 2030, the Port of Esbjerg will play a significant role in the development of the offshore wind market in the future.
Bio and Smart Grid:
Another industrial focus area is within the biotech sector and the newest buzz word, Intelligent Energy also called Smart Grid Technology. The newest Business Park, “Next Step City”, is focusing on developing next generation startups and cluster development in Smart Grid Technology.
Initiatives to support industrial cluster development
10 years ago the city was involved in the process of establishing a Danish knowledge and competence centre within the oil and gas industry. Therefore, Offshoreenergy.dk, which is the cluster organization for Danish oil, gas and renewables companies, is located in Esbjerg. A new collaboration between OffshoreEnergy.dk and The Danish Wind Industry Association has given birth to a 4 year project called Offshore Wind Denmark (OWD). The project is funded by the Region of Southern Denmark to support and develop the Danish offshore wind industry. The base of the activities is of course in Esbjerg.
Esbjerg International School helps to support the businesses that employ international employees and gives the expat families a safe educational base when moving to Esbjerg.
Esbjerg is proud to have the leading role in developing the framework for the offshore industry and therefore it has been natural to initiate Danish Offshore Academy (DOA). DOA is to ensure that companies in the energy sector have the best and most well-trained employees. A close interaction between businesses, educational institutions, training centres and organizations will ensure that we at all levels educate employees with the skills the industry needs. Other initiatives, such as the Danish Centre for Risk and Safety Management, are also established to support the industry.