Irina Lucke has been at the helm of WAB since December 2016. WAB is the network of the wind energy industry, and has 350 member companies from across the entire value chain. It is the most important German association of the wind energy sector.
Lucke, whose main job is managing director of EWE Offshore Service & Solutions GmbH, is a pioneer of offshore wind power and was involved in the construction of Germany's first offshore wind farm, alpha ventus. As one of the few female managing directors in the wind energy industry, she has made a name for herself as the person responsible for the construction of Borkum-Riffgat, the first commercial offshore wind farm in the North Sea. We talked about her role in the trade association and the challenges that an ever-changing business and regulatory environment poses for the wind energy industry.
Ms Lucke, you have been chairperson for eight months now – what made you take on this role after four years on the board?
I have been working in the offshore sector for eleven years, and joined WAB in 2005. Over the years, the association has opened many doors and created many opportunities for me and for many other members. I joined the board in 2013 to give something back to an association that has had such a positive influence on me, and am now continuing this work as chairperson. I can bring even more of my ideas to the table and work closely with managing director Andreas Wellbrock.
What are your goals?
During the first few months, my primary challenge was to find out the best way of applying my expertise to WAB. My background is in projects, so working for a service provider is very different. Now my goal is to raise WAB's public profile, to introduce new ideas and to manage all the highs and lows that the sector faces.
What will your WAB strategy be over the next few years?
We want to pave the way for the switch to renewable energy sources. This is a complex area, and I think we are yet to present it in a way that captures the public's imagination. We still have a lot of work to do in terms of raising public awareness and making our goals clear. The shift in German energy policy needs a master plan – only by working together can we make clean energy possible. To achieve this goal, we are working closely with our partners, including the German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation, to produce information material and run events on current topics such as expanding the power grid, energy feed-ins, energy saving and the concept of integrated energy. We are also active in political committees and networks throughout Germany. We have the experience and expertise that decision-makers need, and they can rely on the advice that we provide.
Without expanding wind energy we will be unable to achieve a sufficient reduction in CO2 emissions.
You have touched upon the shift in German energy policy – what does WAB make of the German government's targets for its energy policy?
The proposed expansion of renewable energies is too limited. Under current plans, we will not be able to meet the climate targets set by the German government and the Paris Agreement. We are therefore calling for an increase in the proposed expansion of offshore wind power to 20 gigawatts (GW) by 2020 and 30 GW by 2030. That is 10 GW more than under current plans. This is a vital step, as our electricity consumption will increase dramatically over the next 25 years, especially with greater numbers of electric vehicles. Without expanding wind energy we will be unable to achieve a reduction in CO2 emissions.
In 2017, the Offshore Wind Energy Act (WindSeeG) and the amendment to the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) came into force. In connection with this, the funding model has been changed to one based on tenders. The first calls for tenders were put out in April. How has the sector adapted to the tender model?
The zero-cent bids* of the first round caused a sensation, of course. It totally took me by surprise, but I am all the more delighted for that. These bids are an important signal to the public that demonstrates that we can be competitive. This development must lead to a discussion of the current caps placed on the expansion of wind energy. For all the positive reports, the tender process has also caused uncertainty. The financing methods developed by banks over recent years no longer work, as subsidies have reduced liabilities or removed them altogether. Entirely new business models are needed now. Our membership includes banks, insurers and lawyers, and together we are trying to break new ground in this area. We also need to work on new technologies in order to increase our competitiveness. In recent years, the sector has focused on improving the efficiency of offshore wind farms. Now it needs to look at reducing operating costs – we believe there is enormous potential for savings here.
*Editor's note: this term refers to several first-round bids for offshore projects that do not rely on subsidies through the EEG surcharge per kilowatt hour produced (= 0 cent). The operators achieve their profits entirely through the sale of the energy they produce.
What challenges are WAB members currently facing?
The sector is becoming more and more international. Some of our members have been active in other countries for decades. Others, especially the many small and medium-sized enterprises, can gain international exposure through our sector events, such as the WINDFORCE conference. It is part of our remit to give SMEs the opportunity to network. Alongside our joint stands at trade fairs and conferences, we also run regular sector events with up to 300 participants.
As a consequence, a pan-European market for renewable energies is gradually developing. This is particularly noticeable in the offshore industry, where foreign investors are building wind farms in Germany, and German operators are active in other countries. This is the right way to go. The switch to renewable energy sources cannot be achieved in one country alone - it is a task that requires collaboration across borders.
How is WAB helping companies to meet these challenges?
We are supporting the sector all the way. In addition to providing information and networking opportunities, we are also working on specific projects, such as our new 'wind to gas' strategy for Bremen. This project aims to research the technological and commercial potential of power-to-gas applications that use surplus electricity from wind generation. WAB provides the platform – we are running a series of talks and bringing all the players together.
The north-west remains the undisputed centre of Germany's offshore industry.
The future of the Adwen plant in Bremerhaven is uncertain, yet at the same time the Bremerhaven offshore terminal is under development, and Siemens is building a new factory in Cuxhaven. These are mixed signals. How do you see the position of Germany's north-west in terms of wind energy?
The north-west remains the undisputed centre of Germany's offshore industry. Bremerhaven is a pioneer in this field and, with an excellent manufacturing base and strong research community, is an attractive place to establish a business. The construction of the Siemens factory in Cuxhaven is another positive sign for the future. Any change, such as the amendment of the Renewable Energy Sources Act, brings uncertainty with it, but we should give the process time. We will see that change also brings opportunities, and I firmly believe that we will overcome any uncertainty.
The United Kingdom is an important market for wind energy – what changes resulting from Brexit are you most worried about?
It is almost impossible at the moment to predict the impact of Brexit on our sector, just as it is for any other sector. We will have to wait until we have more specific information. At the last WINDFORCE Baltic Sea conference in Tallinn we had in-depth discussions with UK-based companies in the wind energy sector. During these discussions it became clear that a steady expansion of renewable energy is still very much needed in the UK, and that our partners there are keen on working together closely at the European level. I am hopeful, therefore, that we will find a common path.
Ms Lucke, many thanks for talking to us.
When it comes to Brexit it’s not about a hard-fought international contest to attract relocating businesses; it’s about coming together to manage the change, says Andreas Gerber of Bremeninvest in this interview conducted by the International Research Networks.
Space technologies have advanced greatly in recent years, leading to increasing demands from the business and research sectors. To meet these requirements, Bremen University now offers unique master’s degrees in Space Engineering and Space Sciences and Technologies. Here, students from around the world learn the skills required for a career in the aerospace industry or in research.
Buoyant mood thanks to record take-up rate, encouraging market trends and strong occupancy levels. The 2017 Bremen property market report shows once again that the city is an attractive location for investors and developers.
Formula Student is a competition for self-built racing cars from around the world, with the season’s final race held at Hockenheim. A Bremen-based team has been taking part with an electric racing car since 2013, and their ambitious goal is to break into the top ten.edicated hobbyists are on the lookout for new sponsors. Large areas of the car are already covered in logos. "But there is always room for more," says Benthien. "We travel a lot with our racer, representing Bremen and our sponsors. The Formula Student events attract visitors and large car manufacturers, and we want to show that Bremen has a lot to offer the automotive sector."
If astronauts want to get all the way to Mars one day, they’ll need food supplies for the journey. Part of the solution could be to grow their own grains and bake bread themselves. Bremen start-up Bake in Space is on the verge of making this vision a reality.
Is this what sales assistants of the future will look like? Bremen start-up company Blackout Technologies develops software based on artificial intelligence, unlike any other software in Europe. Before long, we’ll be greeted by their robot Pepper in shops, at trade fairs or even in care homes. We visited Bremen’s robot lab to find out more.
Stathis Stasinopoulos was unable to find the perfect folding bicycle for his commute to work across Athens. So he developed his own. The bike, called ‘Folding Project’, is lightweight and comfortable and folds up in five seconds. This has given Stasinopoulos an unexpected new direction in life.
The research alliance ROBEX is sending robots up active volcanoes and down into the deepest and darkest seas. Working across disciplines, the 120 scientists of the 16 institutes involved are breaking new ground on this project. They have been eagerly waiting to find out what has happened to the TRAMPER diving robot, which has been exploring the deep seas around Spitsbergen for a year. Now they are ready to bring it back.
A growing number of companies are becoming more aware of their social and environmental footprint, and are looking for ways to act with greater environmental and social responsibility. Germany’s north-west is set to become the national centre for social entrepreneurship in logistics. A new platform is under development and the first round of events is being planned to achieve this goal.
This new master’s degree at Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences prepares students for the future and offers them excellent job prospects.
As both Airbus and Mercedes already know, when it comes to infrastructure and commercial property, businesses should look to Germany’s north-west. To Bremen, to be more precise. The Hanseatic city boasts the following five locational factors.
BLG Logistics Group is a major player in logistics with 18,000 employees. It established the Digilab in Bremen as a core element of its digitalisation. The company’s premises are reminiscent of start-ups in Silicon Valley, and there are good reasons for that.
In June 2016, the UK voted in favour of Brexit, and the exit negotiations are currently in progress. Which industry sectors in Bremen will be particularly hit, and what effect will Brexit have on the Hanseatic city?
FabLab Bremen invites visitors to learn about new manufacturing technologies and try their hand at everything from laser cutters to printing and programming. Digital technology enthusiasts of all ages and programmers of all abilities are welcome here. And it is not long before they can put what they have learnt to good use.
Bremen's sweetest side is made of chocolate. No matter whether it’s milk or dark chocolate, nougat or marzipan. Take a walk around Bremen and taste it.
The founders of Mac Panther Materials, two brothers from Bremen, produce an open-cell metal foam for use in a number of different applications. Its secret lies in the production process that is based on a brilliant and yet simple idea.
An engine under the bonnet drives the wheels – this is the configuration that has been powering cars for over a hundred years. However, wheel hub motors – i.e. motors in the hub of the wheel, not under the bonnet – promise many advantages. Electric drive systems make this possible.
The digital revolution has reached every branch of industry. Many of the technological trends associated with the Industrial Internet of Things originated in Silicon Valley. Rene van den Hoevel, managing director of the German American Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco, and Christoph Ranze, managing director of encoway GmbH and executive board member of the association bremen digitalmedia, explain why it is not only large corporations who should be looking closely at the epicentre of technological advancement.
Almost half of all coffee beans imported into Germany pass through Bremen’s ports. Coffee roasters such as Lloyd Caffee and Cross Coffee have helped to cement the image of Bremen as Germany’s coffee capital.
In the space of just a few years, the maritime city of Bremerhaven has developed into a service centre for the seafaring and shipbuilding industry. At the centre of it all is the company German Dry Docks, whose managing director, Guido Försterling, has already heralded the era of ‘seafaring 4.0’.
Bionics is the application of forms and functions found in nature to technology. Marine biologist Dr Christian Hamm and his team of researchers in Bremerhaven are leading figures in this field thanks to ELiSE. They are particularly interested in the tiny, yet incredibly complex, diatoms – nature’s experts in lightweight construction.
How will Brexit affect the trading of goods between the UK and the EU? Our guest contributor Anja Markmann, who is responsible for customs and international trade law at Bremen Chamber of Commerce, explains what is likely to change from April 2019 onwards.
A new process has been attracting attention in the food industry. Developed by the Bremerhaven Institute for Food Technology and Bioprocess Engineering, the new method enables deep frozen fish to be defrosted in record time. And the fish tastes as fresh as the day it was caught.
For over 15 years, Jacobs University in Bremen has attracted young, talented individuals from all over the world. Students from 106 countries make up a community that contributes to academic achievement and produces graduates that are highly sought after by companies.
Fiona Moore is originally from Burton-on-Trent, near Birmingham, and now works as a freelance translator in Bremen. She fell in love with Bremen in her early twenties. That was back in 2000, but 17 years later she is still as enchanted by the city as she was on the first day. She tells us about settling in Bremen, about her family and about being fortunate to have found a home in here.
Photography studios, workshops and professional kitchens are rarely fully occupied round the clock. So why not let others share them? The german start-up Craftspace brings together providers of production spaces with entrepreneurs, small business owners and artists on a single online platform. It’s an arrangement that benefits everyone.
It’s an adventure playground for kids, an idyllic sanctuary for couples, and a quiet retreat for those looking to escape from stress – from joggers and Nordic walkers to lovers of nature and culture, the Bürgerpark in the centre of Bremen has something for everyone. For the last 150 years, this protected heritage site in the centre of Bremen has relied solely on the support of donations to keep it open and well-maintained.
A great deal of manual labour goes into aircraft construction. Despite this – or perhaps even because of it – Airbus is changing its approach to make increased use of digital technologies. It’s also researching the applications of new manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing. And not a moment too soon, as Airbus’ site manager in Bremen, Dr André Walter, explains in our interview.
GeoSea, a subsidiary of the Belgian DEME group, is helping to construct of some of the largest offshore wind farms in the German North Sea – and in Bremen, the company has found the ideal location to carry out its work.
Art, design and people with disabilities make up the fascinating focus of the work of two young designers from Bremen. Working together with employees from community-based workshops, they develop and improve on designs for handmade products – and are continually thrilled by the potential they see in their co-designers.
Companies wishing to access the European market should be careful about their choice of location. Brexit could result in significantly higher financial and tax burdens for UK-based companies. Under these circumstances, setting up a base on the continent might be a better option. Find out what challenges companies will be facing.
Environmentally friendly manufacturing and ethical standards are the principles on which the fair trade clothing sector is based. Leela Cotton, a successful German-Turkish textile company, produces clothes for children and adults that are not only stylish, but also make a positive contribution to the environment in the way they are manufactured.
Why have so many IT companies chosen to establish themselves in Bremen? We asked five key business figures and researchers from various organisations to tell us what makes the city such an attractive location for the IT sector.
3D imaging with millimetre accuracy for underwater industrial activities and deep sea exploration – company founder Jakob Schwendner has a very clear goal. The first prototype of a camera with brand new sensor technology was built in Canada and presented to industry professionals at the Ocean Business conference in Southampton, United Kingdom, in April.
The Bremen Hansalinie Industrial Estate is a successful business park that is currently undergoing expansion. Several major logistics companies have based themselves here, developing increasingly sophisticated processes that aim to optimise just-in-sequence production for the automotive industry.
Of all the states in Germany, Bremen has the highest density of major research institutions in relation to its population – a fact that also benefits those who study there. It offers a range of international education opportunities for prospective academics with strong practical relevance and research activities that span a diverse range of fields.
Weatherproof displays for transport services, and screens that don’t produce glare in bright sunlight – these are just some of the devices provided by AlfaNet Computer und Electronic Handels GmbH, a Bremen-based company founded nearly 25 years ago by Thomas Lie.
They came, they saw, they marvelled – Chinese business people in Bremen visited the Mercedes-Benz plant and were surprised to find that an automotive manufacturer with a vast robot workforce was also Bremen’s largest employer, with just under 13,000 (human) employees. But where do they all work?
Three continents, four countries, and Bremen at the centre of it all – a start-up could hardly be more international. The young entrepreneurs Ahmed Cheema and Stefan Kuzmanovski want to make sustainable manufacturing and the use of ethically sourced materials standard practice.
Bremen: Down-to-earth, yet always ready to surprise you. An attractive place to live, a city through which we can move easily and without stress – on foot along the river Weser, on two wheels through the many parks, or by tram through the city centre. People from different cities and countries tell us why they fell in love with Bremen and have made their lives here.
Lighter, more bespoke and more intricate: for companies open to new ideas in manufacturing and construction, metal parts produced by 3D printers present an economic alternative to conventional die cutting, rolling and milling. Leading the way is Materialise, a company with its own metal printing plant in Bremen.
Bremen has been twinned with the city of Dalian in north-eastern China since 1985. Find out more about the similarities and connections that the two port cities share.
Up to now, cricket has been very much a niche sport in Germany. But that is changing. In Bremen, a woman is calling the shots in this male-dominated sport – with great success. Her men’s team are the 2016 German cricket champions.
Wearables and smart glasses provide hands-free digital information. A visit at the headquarter of the global market leader for Industrial Wearable Computing, Ubimax in Bremen.
In 2016, companies invested a combined total of €229 million in the federal state of Bremen. Where do these investors hail from, how many jobs have they created, and what is their line of business? Our infographics provide an overview.
How will the UK’s impending exit from the EU affect the logistics sector? Günther Hörbst, Managing Director of the Via Bremen Foundation, on the economic links between the United Kingdom and the EU
The Chinese designer Haoyu Li combines his German design degree with Chinese business acumen. Now he is opening a design office in Bremen, with the aim of making it easier for Chinese products to enter the German market, and to bring German brands to China.
The colours of the local football team are not the only thing that's green about Bremen, as you'll see when you take a stroll around its parks and open spaces. A look at the statistics shows that Bremen is not only Germany's tenth-largest city, it is also its third-greenest, offering plenty of space to enjoy nature.
Keen to remain in Bremen? Then why not combine residency status with self-employment? Manuel Kühn from Bremeninvest’s welcome service knows all about how a start-up could allow British citizens to beat Brexit and kill two birds with one stone.
The high standard of logistical expertise in the state of Bremen functioned as a key to open doors, making this a successful year for Bremen. 2016’s successes were marked by automobiles and steel, welcoming ambitious international companies.
From initial idea to successful move. Andreas Gerber, who heads up the international relocation team at Bremeninvest, knows what international companies need to do to set up a business in Bremen. Here he tells us about the most important steps on the ...
Hard facts take top priority when it comes to the choice of location for international or domestic businesses. But the faster we feel comfortable outside the workplace in the everyday routines and culture of a foreign country, the sooner we feel at home. In addition to trade, science – and of course its port, Bremen has plenty to offer when it comes to quality of life.
BLG LOGISTICS GROUP AG & Co. KG’s AutoTerminal in Bremerhaven is a record-breaking automotive hub. Every year, the terminal handles some 2.3 million vehicles. But that’s not all.
Going it alone is rarely an easy option. Co-working enables entrepreneurs to work in a shared space and experience the benefits and synergies that come with this. There are nine co-working spaces in Bremen – which one is right for you?
Permits and authorisations, a mountain of applications and a language barrier too. These are just some of the difficulties you face when starting a business abroad. Luckily, an advice centre opened in Bremen in early 2015 that can help you through the jungle: Bremeninvest’s welcome service.
Geographical distance and cultural differences make it hard to relocate or start up a company in another country. Luckily, help is at hand from the team at the World Trade Center (WTC) in Bremen. They'll do all they can to make your international business a success.
In December 2016 ministers from the European Space Agency (ESA) member states met to determine the roadmap for the European space sector for the years ahead. Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Bremen submitted joint recommendations. In the following interview Dr Peter Vits, Bremen's State Coordinator for the Space Sector, talks about Bremen's strengths and opportunities.
The sky is not the limit, at least not in Bremen. All parts of the aerospace sector are represented in the city, from R&D to production. Aeroplane wings, Ariane rockets and Galileo satellites – Bremen is one of the leading locations in the international aerospace industry. Here are five factors behind Bremen’s story of success.
In 2015 Bremen won the right to host the International Astronautical Congress for the second time, after having successfully held the event in 2003. Its bid was the result of a collaboration between the Bremen regional government and Bremen’s space industry and space research sector. Event partners include the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the German Aerospace Centre.
The Bremen region has long been a pioneer in electric mobility and is now set to enjoy further success after Mercedes-Benz and Borgward announced that they will be making electric vehicles in the city.
Bremen knows how to make cars: the Mercedes-Benz plant by the Weser river has been in operation for almost 40 years, is the focal point of the city’s automotive industry and automotive clusters, and is now the company’s biggest global facility in terms of vehicle production numbers. Reason enough for an ever-growing number of suppliers and logistics firms to base themselves in Bremen.
Sometimes you have to learn from other people's mistakes and trust your instincts. That is what Muhammad-Farhan Aslam believed when he took over his father's business. Not only did he change the business model, but he also shelved his own plans to move to England. Instead he stayed in Bremen. And it turned out to be one of many good decisions that he made.
For 30 years, the Cargo Distribution Centre in Bremen has delivered excellence – as an investment location and a logistics hub. Today more than 150 companies employing approximately 8,000 people are based at the site. It offers direct links to the ports, the autobahn and has a close proximity to Bremen City Airport.
Language barriers, unfamiliar legal and fiscal systems, qualifications that need to be recognised. There are many additional hurdles that entrepreneurs have to overcome when setting up a new branch or a new company in a different country. Bremeninvest is committed to offering you advice and support from the outset.
You might expect a Bremen-based company specialising in innovative instruments and implants for spinal surgery to be located at the Technology Park. But you'd be wrong. NuVasive Germany GmbH has its head office at the heart of the city centre next to Wallanlagen Park. Now employing a team of 44 people, the company generates annual revenue of more than €10 million – a figure that looks set to rise.
David Zhou came to Bremen three years ago with the aim of conquering the market – and a new continent – with LEDs. He started his business selling LED lighting and electronics at the World Trade Centre at Bremen Airport and has gradually built it up over the past few years.