First non-subsidised Dutch wind farm within reach

Developments in the area of offshore wind energy are progressing so rapidly that a scenario in which a market party will be able to realise a wind farm without the support of subsidies must be taken into account. In order to adequately respond to these developments, parties are being offered an opportunity to submit a non-subsidised bid for Sites I and II of the Hollandse Kust (zuid) wind farm, which will be opened this autumn. In the event no acceptable bid is received, a procedure including subsidies will begin as soon as possible thereafter. Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp said as much today in a letter to the House of Representatives. 

Minister Kamp: “Developments surrounding offshore wind are following one another in quick succession. Three years ago, the expectation was that the five wind farms off the coast of Zeeland and Holland would require up to a maximum of €18 billion in subsidies. That figure included €4 billion for the offshore electricity grid necessary to deliver the power to the mainland. Since then, however, the costs have been reduced by more than half, and they are expected to decrease even further. I now intend to allow businesses an opportunity to participate in the tender process for the next wind farm – the one off the coast of South Holland – without the use of subsidies."

Offshore wind vital for energy transition

The Netherlands is working hard to make the transition from fossil fuels to sustainable energy. Currently, 6% of the energy we use comes from renewable sources such as wind and solar power. That percentage will increase strongly in the coming years, predicted to reach 14% in 2020 and 16% in 2023. Offshore wind is an important part of this transition. Until 2023, the Netherlands will host a massive effort to construct five wind farms that are among the largest in the world. With a capacity of 700 megawatts each, any one of these wind farms will generate enough power to supply one million households with electricity. The Energy Agenda presented by the cabinet at the end of last year calls for an additional seven offshore wind farms, each of which will boast a capacity of 1000 megawatts. Based on the most recent tender for Sites III and IV of the Borssele Wind Farm Zone, subsidies for offshore wind farms were expected to become unnecessary in 7.5 years’ time. Despite the fact that developments in Germany cannot be wholly compared to those in the Netherlands, (the German wind farms typically begin production some 2 to 3 years later, giving the winner the opportunity to take additional benefit from technological advancements; wind speeds are also higher at the German sites), the possibility of a Dutch offshore wind farm is likely to present itself at an earlier date. 

Offshore wind model as driving force behind other sustainable energy technologies

Today, thanks to our large offshore wind farms, we are able to achieve a great deal with little to no subsidy support: A wind farm delivers sufficient power to supply just under one million households with sustainably generated electricity. At the same time, other green-power technologies are under pressure to also become more affordable in the short term. The likelihood of other technologies receiving subsidies is decreased when it becomes equally possible to generate renewable energy using wind farms that do not require subsidies.