Question & answers for Kildn

What is Kildn’s vision?

Kildn aims to become the world’s first zero-emission port for international, national and local passenger ferries, as well as being a home port for cruise ships, fjord tourism and a fast ferry network

Who is developing the project?

The project is the brain child of Tertnes Holding AS, and the site will be developed by the property developers Rexir Holding AS. COWI has developed the concept study for Kildn on behalf of, and in consultation with, Tertnes Holding

Where did the name Kildn come from?

The idea for Kildn was born 15 years ago, and for the past four years we have been working on transforming our vision into reality. The name itself came up early in the process as a working title. We talked about how this project could promote a new way of developing shipping – towards a greener future. How it could become a source of inspiration for ports and shipping all over Norway – and perhaps even the world. The Norwegian word for the source is kilden.

We have discussed various names over the years, some with an international flavour and others that hark back to the maritime history of Western Norway. We have considered place names and sought inspiration in the names of old boats and maritime communities. But in our day-to-day work we always returned to kilden, because it reflects the aspirations of the project. A source of ideas for a greener world. A source of green energy. A source of inspiration for the future. It is a name that has inspired everyone involved in the project to be very forward-looking. For us, it’s all about innovation and sustainability. A hub of vitality and energy, that promotes growth and wider economic benefits. The idea of the project as a source kept coming up in our vision.

Eventually we realised that the word kilden was going to stick with the project. But as the word is so widely used in other contexts, including shopping centres and cultural centres, we had to do something to make our project stand out. So we decided to remove the “e” and make the name into a proper noun and a logo – Kildn.

Which politicians have approved the project?

The project hasn’t yet been reviewed by the political authorities. It was first presented to Askøy Municipality at a council meeting on 19 May. We are now looking forward to continuing to consult with politicians, the local community and other stakeholders, so that we can get their input.

Will any impact assessments be carried out for the project?

Yes, if the politicians in Askøy decide that it is worth taking the project further, a planning and zoning process will begin. This is clearly such a major project that it would require impact assessments relating to a number of areas. It is important for all parties to have the best possible information for deciding whether to go ahead with the project. What exactly will be covered by the impact assessments will depend on future political decision-making processes. Eventually a zoning plan will be drawn up for the politicians to assess.

When do you think the project will be completed?

Our goal is for the port to receive its first ships by 2026. However, progress will depend on political will, as well as the complexity of the design and construction processes. In order to carry out the necessary impact assessments, the politicians in Askøy must start a planning process to explore various options. If that process can begin in 2020, it will be possible to carry it out in parallel with the plans for the development of the Port of Bergen, and for fjord tourism and maritime transport by Vy Fjord1 Reiseliv, between now and 2026.

The government’s aim is for all Norwegian ports to be zero-emission by 2030. At a national level, Kildn wants to play an important role in the government’s push for greener shipping, and help to move traffic off the roads and onto the water with the help of innovative solutions and partnerships.

How will the project be financed?

The project will only go ahead if it has a profitable financial model. We have already done a lot of work on this area. It will be both natural and necessary for the model to be refined and updated during the planning process, in response to the results of impact assessments and political decisions.

Specifically, EY is currently working on refining a complex financial model that incorporates numerous parameters for the potential profitability of the various functions of the port based on their space requirements and various scenarios for the number of visitors, turnover, etc. It will also take into account factors relating to construction, taxes, financing terms, etc. The model also estimates the wider economic benefits, during both the construction period and subsequent operation.

The idea is to gradually feed figures into the model as the project advances, so it will be a dynamic model capable of simulating countless combinations of design options and parameters. It is vital to all of the involved and affected parties for the project to be financially sustainable. We believe that can be achieved by working with strong partners. We won’t start digging until we have a model showing an acceptable profit margin. Without that it will anyway be impossible to get investors and partners at various levels on board.

Will the project help to create jobs?

Yes, Kildn will provide a significant number of new, green jobs. The port will be unique in acting as a combined home port for cruise ships, fjord tourism and a fast ferry network. Kildn’s vision also considers the possibility of incorporating hotels, conference facilities, offices for large companies and research organisations, restaurants, cafés, shops, logistics and freight terminals, home port functions, jobs in the renewable energy sector such as battery storage, etc. Those possibilities will be explored and investigated during the planning process.

How will the project fit into the landscape?

The area is hilly and inaccessible, with vertical cliffs down to the sea, except at Eidsvika. The building will be carefully positioned in the landscape in order to minimise the need for excavation. Kildn has a semi-circular shape with a roof that slopes down from the highest point in the north to the lowest point in the south. It will be built at Eidsvika, with the quays and terminals hugging the terrain.

The aim is for Kildn to fit as naturally into the landscape as possible. All natural environments are vulnerable, and we want to protect the environment as much as possible. Existing recreation activities will be improved by making them more accessible and by incorporating universal design principles. Additional activities will be made available and added at Eidsvika. We will also carry out thorough environmental impact assessments and get the input of experts and the residents of Askøy during the planning process.

Kildn aims to offer new scenic viewpoints, accessible architecture and a green rooftop terrace as part of its new recreational offering for hikers in Askøy.

How will you provide recreational activities for people who use the area?

The main building in Eidsvika will link the countryside to the north of the port with the countryside and sea front to the south by means of a green roof that you can walk along. Additional activities will be made available and added at Eidsvika. We will also carry out thorough environmental impact assessments and get the input of experts and the residents of Askøy during the planning process.

Kildn aims to offer new scenic viewpoints, accessible architecture and a green rooftop terrace as part of its new recreational offering for hikers in Askøy.

How will the project affect the local fauna and flora?

Dealing with this in a good, responsible way is a big priority for us. This is a cultural landscape, and we want to have as little impact on it as possible. The project will take account of the natural environment and biodiversity. Ecologists have performed an environmental assessment, and they did not find any important terrestrial habitats, animal species or cultural landscapes that were threatened by the development. The project aims to preserve the environment as much as possible, so during the planning process we will carry out in-depth impact assessments to look at how biodiversity will be affected.

Our concept study aims to ensure that Kildn fits as naturally as possible into the landscape. The area is currently not very well set up or widely used for hiking. That’s why we’ve looked at designs with green roofs, paths and universal design principles to make the area accessible to Askøy’s residents and visitors.

Is the idea to move all cruise ships from the Port of Bergen to Askøy?

No. Bergen is currently Norway’s busiest port of call for cruise ships, and fjord tourism generates significant revenues for businesses in the region. However, the city council has decided to reduce the number of cruise ships calling at Bergen city centre from eight to three per day. Alternative options are therefore needed.

As a home port for cruise ships, Kildn can be a complementary port to Bergen. It can make an important contribution to ensuring that the Bergen region has the capacity and flexibility to cater to the expected increase in fjord tourism in the region.

Eidsvika on Askøy enjoys a strategic location on the approach to Bergen, which means it can play a key role in a fast ferry network, acting as a charging station and hub linking Bergen, Flesland and the new port at Ågotnes.
The port has the potential to supply five large cruise ships, as well as a fleet of electric high-speed craft operating on a fast ferry network serving the Bergen region.

Instead of all cruise ships having to enter Bergen, some of them will be able to dock at Askøy, where they will be able to resupply and recharge their batteries. Passengers will be ferried to and from Bergen, Flesland and the fjords on a network of routes served by electric fast ferries.

The goal is to build a zero-emission port that provides shore power to cruise ships using electricity it generates itself, thereby ensuring minimal pollution. Our vision is to develop Norway’s biggest (and first) zero-emission port for cruise ships and ferries. We will require cruise ships and high-speed craft to operate in electric/zero-emission mode when approaching the port, as will the Port of Bergen. We believe that this will be possible, and it will also help to implement the authorities’ Action Plan for Green Shipping, which requires cruise ships to produce zero emissions in world heritage fjords by 2026 and aspires for ports to be zero-emission by 2030.

What about the queues on Askøy bridge – will the traffic get even worse?

No. We want the project to help move passenger transport from land to sea. Kildn is a project that can help to facilitate the fast ferry network for the Bergen region, helping to relieve pressure on the existing road infrastructure. Any additional traffic produced by the project will have to be studied more closely in conjunction with the planning process.

In any case, the goal is to improve green transport networks in the region, as well as to minimise road traffic. It will make sense to plan departure times and other necessary traffic to be outside rush hour.

How will you solve the challenge of providing enough power to large ships?

The government’s aim is for all Norwegian ports to be zero-emission by 2030. It therefore makes no sense to plan a forward-looking new port that isn’t zero-emission and based on renewable energy. Nothing else would be sustainable or profitable in the long run. Our vision is to develop Norway’s biggest (and first) green zero-emission port for cruise ships and a fast ferry network. Our ambition is for the project to be completed in 2026.

So far, we have explored an energy model that involves the port being self-sufficient for renewable energy, so that it puts as little strain on the electrical grid as possible and can export any excess energy to the grid. It will be possible to install an energy storage system underground, and a microgrid with a smart energy distribution system will compensate for the extra power requirements of the port when ships are connected to shore power.

We will require all large ships and ferries that dock at the port to operate in zero-emission mode when approaching the port, which will also become a requirement at the Port of Bergen.

The idea is to achieve this by using an optimal balance of four different potential renewable energy sources:

  1. Sea water from a depth of 100 metres that will be passed through a heat exchanger and used to cool fresh water, which will be distributed around the facility to provide cooling.
  2. Approximately 23,000 m2 of rooftop solar panels will cover a significant proportion of the facility’s energy consumption.
  3. Underground battery storage system to provide extra power for shore power. That will help to reduce the need to draw electricity from the grid on Askøy.
  4. A seawater pumped storage power station where water is pumped up to a great height when power and energy is available, and then released through a turbine when power and energy are required. This serves the same purpose as the battery, and it will also be built underground.

Tourists may bring coronavirus – isn’t this awful timing for launching a port aimed at mass tourism?

We are monitoring the authorities’ recommendations and the health emergency closely, and we will obviously ensure that the port meets any new laws and regulations that are introduced in the wake of the pandemic. But there will be a future after coronavirus. We must learn from what has happened and be prepared for whatever challenges the future brings. The project has great potential as a regional emergency response hub, which is something that can be explored in greater detail during the planning process.

The idea for this port was born 15 years ago, and over the past four years we have been working on turning our vision into practical proposals. We have now reached the stage that we are ready to share our vision with politicians, residents and other stakeholders, so that they can give their input on how to convert our vision into reality.

In parallel to this, there is a lot of investment in green shipping, including ambitious plans at the Port of Bergen for the coming decade. A number of other projects to develop ports and fjord tourism will be presented over the coming years, which makes it important for us to explore the opportunities offered by a project like this – including in terms of the pandemic’s possible long-term impacts on port operations and fjord tourism. This is absolutely the right and necessary time to look forwards, plan for the future and invest in the transition to a greener economy.

We therefore hope that the political will exists on Askøy to start the planning process for Kildn, which will help to ascertain the project’s impacts and identify the scope of the opportunities created by the project and how to make use of them.