Energy Port Masterplan – Ostend

October 19, 2016


Client:  Autonoom Havenbedrijf Oostende
Size:  658 ha, of which 199 ha water surface
Period:  2013 – 2014
Team:  3E, i-propeller, MOP Urban Design, Rebel


In the framework of the European Interreg project “Sustainable Seaports”, a consortium of companies (3E, MOP Urban Design, i-Propeller and Rebel) commissioned by the Autonomous Port Authority Oostende, worked out a vision and master plan for the further development of the Energy Port of Os Oostende tend. With this study the port of Ostend wants to find an answer to the growing influx of companies and wants them to develop a strategy for the onshore organisation of the blue energy sector.

The port of Ostend anticipates, with the Energy Port, on the growth of the ‘ blue energy sector ‘. Blue Energy is the collective name for all the energy originating from sea: wind, wave and tidal energy. The Energy Port Ostend has grown into a regional attraction for companies active in this sector.

In the outer port of Ostend windmills are assembled. From the buildings on this site, the management and maintenance are coordinated. Management and maintenance are becoming more and more important. That is a healthy evolution, because contracts are concluded for 10-15 years and this ensures long-term employment for the region. However, the usage requirements change with this evolution.

The zone with buildings should therefore evolve from a yard area to an industrial zone. The need for buildings is calculated by means of a calculation tool that was developed for this master plan. This will give the port a better view on the need for buildings and future employment in function of the wind farms for which the management and maintenance will originate from the port of Ostend.

The master plan is not a distant dream, but action-oriented. Through focus conversations, the feasibility of the Energy Port ambition is checked with the users in order to come to a realistic development plan. The first steps towards a sustainable development of the Energy Port are already taken. For the realisation of 2 new buildings (Vestas-building and Falck-building) there were already certain sustainability criteria taken into account in the design and implementation process.

In particular, 3E buildings and site experts guided the Ostend Port Authority in developing a new sustainable energy strategy for their buildings, which would help them assert their ambitions as a leading hub for European blue energy services. As industrial zones, with complex terrain and strict constraints on land use, traditionally poor energy performance buildings with unusual heating and cooling needs, ports face unique challenges in implementing sustainability plans but also have great opportunities to improve their footprint and expand their activities through sustainable practices.

Our work focused on 2 key aspects of the new Ostend port strategy:

  • Implementing renewable energy generation on site. We investigated the possible technology choices in terms of needs, site constraints and costs (including heating and cooling networks, biomass, solar, wind) and opted for optimal solutions including solar PV, solar thermal and possibly medium-scale wind on site.
  • Improving appeal and sustainability of buildings, through the use of sustainable building materials and implementation of cost-efficient energy saving measures. Although unusual for this type of industrial building and warehouses, sustainable building materials have significant potential in port areas. Energy savings measures such as improved lighting (control) and better insulation (even in buildings only heated to 10°C) are also clearly cost-effective, as we’ve demonstrated in several previous studies for the market segment.