June 22 - Bremerhaven is to build a harbour for the shipment of plant for the offshore wind farms that are to be erected in the North Sea.

The chosen location is the northern part of Blexer Bogen, a bend in the River Weser. Following a meeting of the Senate in Bremerhaven, the Senator for Economic Affairs and Ports, was simultaneously asked to initiate the relevant approval proceedings. Senator Martin Günthner said: "The Senate has issued an unmistakable signal: we intend to provide the offshore industry with the best possible conditions in Bremerhaven to enable this economic location to reap the maximum benefits from the booming alternative energy market. Climate protection creates qualified jobs." The plans are based on the assumption that a terminal can be built at Blexer Bogen to handle up to 150 wind turbines per annum.

As the site is located in a European nature reserve, comprehensive compensation measures will have to be implemented before construction work can begin on the terminal. Owing to species protection requirements, for example, new resting grounds will have to be provided for the pied avocet, as a substitute site for the mudflats at Blexer Bogen where the new terminal will be built.

The new harbour will also affect the economic and nautical demands of shipping on the Weser, impeding the use of Blexen roads in this area. Detailed plans will also have to be drawn up for integrating the outbound transport of the assembled rotor blades in the other shipping traffic.

The main runway at Luneort airfield will have to be abandoned owing to construction of the terminal, which will be located in the approach path. The Senate will therefore ask Bremerhaven administration authority to draw up a concept for the future use of the airfield which is compatible with the offshore terminal.

Alternative locations which have been investigated over the past few months as potentially suitable for the offshore terminal included Erdmannssiel on Luneplate. However, the ecological disadvantages would have been so substantial that it would not be possible to guarantee the legal soundness of the ecological compensation for the impact on nature at Luneplate. That, in turn, would have entailed considerable risks for the next stages of the project.

The offshore platform is to be developed by private investors. The Senator for Economic Affairs and Ports plans to initiate the necessary procedures as soon as possible. Martin Günthner added: "There are still a large number of individual problems that will have to be resolved during the course of the planning procedures. We have to keep up a brisk pace if we are to achieve our target of completing the harbour in 2014. An offshore terminal is vital to enable the ongoing development of Bremerhaven as a leading location for the wind industry."