Tri-City universities have not been indifferent to the fact that offshore wind farms will be an important, perhaps even the most important, future sector of the Polish maritime economy. That is why they establish cooperation with research centres and companies that operate in this market and finally, they begin offering courses and degrees related to the offshore wind sector.
According to the “Energy Policy of Poland until 2040” adopted in February this year, at the end of this decade the installed capacity of offshore wind farms is to reach 5.9 GW and approx. 11 GW in 2040, and the development of OWE is to contribute to the creation of up to 70 000 jobs by 2033.The prerequisites, however, are suitably adapted port facilities, the development of innovation and logistics infrastructure and, above all, the training of human resources, which are currently in short supply.
To meet the demand for such skilled manpower, at the end of June this year, the Gdańsk University of Technology and the Maritime University of Gdynia opened an inter-university course of studies to educate experts in the field of offshore wind power generation technologies. This will be a 2nd-level degree programme called Offshore Wind Power Generation Technologies. The representatives of the two universities stress that thanks to the agreement, the research and educational offer will be even broader and adjusted to the needs of the market, where the demand for specialists in this area will only continue to grow. Moreover, in mid-May this year, PG authorities also signed a cooperation agreement with the Danish Technical University, the Institute of Fluid-Flow Machinery of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) and PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna, thanks to which students and scientists of the universities will gain another opportunity for knowledge exchange, joint research and professional development in the field of offshore wind energy generation.
But that’ s not all – at the end of May this year. PG has also launched the Centre for Offshore Wind Energy Generation. As the university authorities assure, it gathers specialists from all areas of knowledge related to OWE and has a specialised laboratory base, which permits the analysis of many technical as well as organisational problems regarding the construction and operation of offshore wind farms. Also at the end of May this year, the Maritime University of Gdynia, Morska Agencja Gdynia [Maritime Agency Gdynia] and MAG’s subsidiary, MAG Offshore, signed a letter of intent on cooperation for the offshore wind market. It deals with joint research and development work in this sector and with training of qualified personnel for this particular industry. The aim is to carry out joint R&D projects in the field of offshore wind energy generation, to exchange experts’ experience in the planning and preparation of research programmes and R&D projects in the field of offshore wind energy generation. The initiatives are also to include the exchange of expert experience in the training of personnel for offshore wind farm operators and other offshore disciplines, in the area of logistics and the operation of specialised vessels.
The Gdynia-based university, together with the Maritime Institute it manages, is also interested in creating an Offshore Centre. The design for its construction was already developed in 2016, but only now it has a realistic chance of being carried out. Especially, since the Institute is involved in environmental studies for most investors in the offshore wind energy sector in Poland. “Innovative Centre of integrated marine environment research laboratories for the offshore industry”, as this is what the project is called, has received funding from the Regional Operational Programme of the Pomorskie Voivodeship for 2014-2020. According to the authorities’ declaration, the university is prepared to carry out the project, which may be completed by the end of 2023. The Centre is to be built in the Port of Gdańsk at Wisłoujście Quay.
The future of the offshore wind industry and its importance for our maritime economy is also recognised by the privately funded Gdynia Maritime School. It intends to train offshore wind farm construction and maintenance workers. Drawing on the experience of industry professionals, the university authorities have identified a set of knowledge and skills that is required of employees for the construction and maintenance of offshore power plants. Based on this, a syllabus was developed for the courses, which will conclude with a practical exam. The courses were prepared in collaboration with experts on the Integrated Qualification System from the Educational Research Institute. The key issue was to develop teaching curricula that will address market needs.
Investments related to offshore wind generation and training of the necessary manpower for this sector will be one of the leading topics of Maritime Economy Forum Gdynia, whose 20th anniversary edition will take place on October 7- 8, 2021.
Article developed with Namiary na Morze i Handel magazine
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