Offshore wind: status and outlook for the Netherlands

The Netherlands was one of the first countries in the world to complete offshore wind farms. The first two, Egmond aan Zee (2007) and Prinses Amalia (2008), have a total capacity of 228MW. It took a number of years to expand capacity. This was reached in September 2015 with the project Luchterduinen. It comprises of 43 turbines with a combined capacity of 129MW. Gemini, 85km north of the Netherlands, will become fully operational in 2017 with an installed capacity of 600MW. Furthermore the ‘in-shore’ project of ‘Westermeerwind’ was realised in 2016 in the IJsselmeer lake and has a capacity of 100MW.

In September 2013 the ‘Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth’ was agreed upon by the Dutch Government, the Dutch industry association, employers, trade unions and NGOs. In this agreement the renewable energy target for the Netherlands is set at 14% for 2020 and 16% in 2023 (currently about 6%). A substantial role is attributed to offshore wind.

Through the Energy Agreement 700MW of offshore wind will be added yearly for 5 consecutive years (first tender end of 2015). In 2015 a new law for offshore wind energy was agreed by the Dutch Parliament which regulates the agreements made for offshore wind energy in the Energy Agreement.

In 2016 the first tender was held. The subsidy and permits for the Borssele Wind Farm Sites I and II were awarded to DONG Energy for a record price excluding transmission costs of 72.70 euros per MWh. These two sites are expected to be completed in mid-2020 and are to be built more than 22 kilometres off the coast of the province of Zeeland.

The Dutch government chose for a new tender system with plots wherein the winner with the lowest MWh price will be granted both the concession to build as well as a ‘SDE+’ subsidy for 15 years. The roll-out scheme for offshore wind will be regulated in the ‘The Wind Energy Roadmap’ which is set by the Minister of Economic Affairs. In this roadmap a total of 3500 MW will be tendered to become operational in 2023.

The grid to the shore including the transformer stations will be built by TenneT. The complete operation demands a tremendous amount of work. NWEA will continue to assist its members and the government to realise these ambitions throughout 2016.