Ferry company Stena Line has begun offering commercial cruises to the 400MW Anholt offshore wind farm, in collaboration with Dong Energy. Strong ticket sales suggest that public curiosity about offshore wind is high, at least in Denmark.
In September 2012, Dong Energy and Danish transmission system operator, Energinet.dk, chartered Stena Nautica for two trips to Anholt. Both companies had invited special guests to view the wind farm, currently under construction.
Stena Line advertised the remaining 100 places per excursion in a local newspaper and the 200 tickets sold out the day the ad appeared. "A lot of people called us in vain hoping to buy tickets," Inge Lise Riis, port service manager for Stena Line Denmark told Windpower Offshore.
The following month Stena ran the tour again on a purely commercial basis, selling a thousand tickets for half-day excursions. The tours were guided by Jens Nybo Jensen, Dong’s stakeholder relations adviser, and Jørgen Lund Møller, a marine biologist. Dong owns 50% of Anholt and is responsible for its construction.
Many people living and working close to the onshore base established for Anholt's construction have experienced delays to journeys during the transport of turbine blades and other large components. They proved to be very curious to see the results of all the effort, explained Jensen.
"The biggest surprise comes when they grasp the size of the area which is, and will be, covered with turbines," he said. "It is 88km² and its length extends 20km from north to south." Jensen sees significant public relations benefit for Dong from these boat trips.
Stena has scheduled four more cruises for this month and next, with 1,770 of the 2,000 tickets already sold. "We are also planning four to six trips in the autumn," added Riis.