Shell and Eneco to build third unsubsidised Dutch offshore wind farm

CrossWind, a consortium comprising Shell and Eneco, is going to build and operate the third unsubsidised wind farm in the Dutch North Sea, in the Hollandse Kust (noord) Wind Farm Zone (HKNWFZ). The wind farm will have a capacity of over 750 MW and its construction will mean that by 2023, offshore wind power will provide 16% of the Netherlands' electricity needs. In 2016, Blauwwind (comprising Shell and Eneco) was awarded the permit to build and operate sites III en IV in the Borssele Wind Farm Zone. This wind farm is currently under construction.

Innovative applications

During the assessment of the tenders for this wind farm permit, one of the aspects focused on was the use of innovative applications. CrossWind will test a variety of innovations in the field of energy storage and flexibility, with the possibility of rolling them out on a larger scale at other wind farms in the future.

What will the wind farm look like?

The Hollandse Kust (noord) Wind Farm Site is located around 18.5 km off the coast of the province of North Holland. CrossWind will install 69 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 11 MW, the majority of which will be situated over 1 km from each other. The electricity cable connecting the wind farm to the offshore 'power socket' will be installed by the transmission system operator TenneT. The artist's impression below gives you an idea of how the wind farm might look.

In principle, the space between the turbines is available for alternative uses, provided these are compatible with the wind farm. Wind farms provide numerous opportunities for development of the natural underwater environment: once the wind turbines have been installed, a wind farm will be a calmer place for underwater flora and fauna and new marine life will be able to settle on the foundations of the wind turbines.

Construction of other offshore wind farms

In the years to come, more offshore wind farms will be built and the amount of electricity they supply will increase substantially. The Dutch offshore wind farms currently have a combined capacity of around 1 gigawatt (GW), which will increase to nearly 2.5 GW by the end of this year. By 2023, total offshore wind capacity will have reached 4.7 GW, which would mean the objective for offshore wind energy from the Energy Agreement would be achieved within budget and on schedule. By 2030, total capacity will increase further to 11 GW, which represents 40% of the total demand for electricity in the Netherlands.

Importance of offshore wind energy

Besides sustainably fulfilling the electricity needs of homes and businesses, offshore wind power is also vital for the industrial sector to replace fossil fuelled powered systems with electrical ones. In addition, electricity generated by offshore wind farms will be a viable means of sustainably producing hydrogen in the future.