Offshore Wind and tourism in Denmark

Right in front of Copenhagen, a monument to sustainability that you can actually visit

PILOT LEAD PARTNER: 
SPOK
Contact: 
  • Julia Chozas

  • Hans Christian Sorensen

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“Having a wind farm as a major city landmark sends visitors an important message: it’s our choice to decide how to produce energy, and ocean multi-use can be a viable option”

KEY FACTS

IT HAS AN ESTIMATED POWER OF 40 MW: 20 TURBINES, EACH PRODUCING 2 MW 

THE MIDDELGRUNDEN WIND FARM IS LOCATED OFF THE COAST OF COPENHAGEN

THE FARM HOSTS MORE THAN 30 BOAT VISITS ANNUALLY

IT IS ELECTED AS THE SECOND MOSTIMPORTANT CITY LANDMARK

THE FARM PRODUCES 3% OF THE TOTAL POWER USED IN COPENHAGEN

MORE THAN 150 PEOPLE CLIMB THE TURBINEDURING ITS OPEN DAYS

50% OF THE WIND FARM IS OWNED BY A LOCAL COOPERATIVE WITH 8,553 MEMBERS AND 50% BY THE UTILITY COMPANY HOFOR

Type of multi-use

Offshore wind site used for tourism and recreation. 

Background

Ever thought about climbing a wind turbine? Well, since the 1980’s and up to 2002, this used to be a tradition in Denmark: in June, when winds are milder and the weather is nice, wind farms organized “open-house” days where people could just visit and climb up the turbine. 

Due to their characteristics, it is not allowed to climb turbines installed after 2002, for safety reasons. But it is allowed in older turbines, as ladders are equipped with floor sections each 8 meters. As more and more older turbines are replaced by modern ones, Middelgrunden turbines are one of the few in Denmark still open for visits. 

The pilot site

Every two years, the Middelgrunden farm organizes an open house day in June. Usually, 150 to 200 people climb turbines during these open days.

And this is not the only recreational activity offered by the farm: Since 2010, the local cooperative that owns and manages the farm has offered guided tours in collaboration with boat companies, organizing 30 to 40 trips every year. Very diverse groups participate in these tours: people working in the wind sector, of course, but also government delegations, students and general tourists. The site also offers targeted tours and presentations to different audiences, trying to best capture their interests.

The challenge

Open days and tours are not the easiest thing to organize. At present, a dedicated insurance coverage for climbing turbines does not exist – service providers do have safety equipment and a standard working insurance, but no one knows if and how visitors should be insured. Moreover, the number of visitors and tours to the site is limited by the availability of boat companies.

How UNITED responds to the challenge

UNITED is addressing the key multi-use challenges and investigating new opportunities for the site, such as:

  • Addressing existing legal and insurance challenges;
  • Expanding the tours by enhancing the boat service; and
  • Explore new opportunities for multi-use, such as for example scuba-diving and fishing around the site.

Middelgrunden is right in front of Copenhagen, and thus visible from the most important city beaches. When visitors land at Copenhagen airport, the farm is one of the first thing they see – and this is quite a sight, if we consider the fact that Denmark is regarded as the land of sustainability, with 50% of its electricity supply covered by wind sources. Thus, it is a perfect site to explore – and expand – the potential of ocean multi-use between offshore wind and tourism. However, even in this ideal site, there are challenges to be faced: luckily, the UNITED team loves finding creative solutions to overcome such challenges!