Hi Theo! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role?
I’m currently a Director of the Offshore Wind division of Van Oord, with a focus on continental Europe. Within our management team, I'm also responsible for our sustainability programme I manage both projects that we are executing and projects that we are tendering for.
I started my career as a marine engineer sailing on installation vessels, and then on general cargo vessels. After that I completed a master’s in mechanical engineering and worked in refrigeration; I also worked at the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands, where I was responsible for the offshore wind research programme.
Now my career has come full circle, returning to offshore installation. My life has always been based around the water. I come from a sailing family; my brothers were in the merchant navy. And sailing is still a passion of mine, it’s something I do in my free time. I live near the sea, like everyone in the Netherlands!
What’s the biggest challenge you face, and how are you addressing it?
We’re a are Balance of Plant contractor with a focus on transport and installation. That means that we provide marine services, including jackup vessels – the large, specialised vessels that install wind turbines and foundations at sea.
So, our emissions are heavily linked to the fuel used by the vessels. And shipping is one of the hardest sectors to decarbonise, partly because vessels have a lifespan of 30 years. You can adapt existing vessels to run on green fuels, but at present, green fuels are more expensive, and we want to remain competitive on cost.
That said, we know we must decarbonise. When Ørsted asked us to report our carbon emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project, we realised through that process that our targets were not rigorous enough. So, we began to set new, science-based targets across all our activities and cover scopes 1 (direct emissions), 2 (emissions from purchased electricity), and 3 (value chain emissions). We know our licence to grow depends on how well we manage our efforts to decarbonise.