Offshore wind: The Netherlands well on schedule, tender round to double capacity will start early 2024

Today, the CrossWind consortium completed construction of the Hollandse Kust (noord) wind farm. The Netherlands has now reached a total of 4.7 GW of installed offshore wind capacity, enough to supply approximately 16% of total current electricity demand in the country. The target for 4.5 GW, agreed in 2013, has therefore been comfortably achieved within the agreed timeframe. Next week, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy will also start the tender process to award permits for two of the largest offshore wind farms to date, with 4 GW of combined offshore wind capacity being awarded in one go. That is almost as much as the total cumulative capacity of existing Dutch wind farms.

As the Netherlands works towards its net-zero ambitions, we need more and more sustainable electricity. Offshore wind will become the largest source of sustainable energy for Europe. Significant steps have already been taken in this regard over the past 10 years. The 2013 Energy Agreement stipulated that the Netherlands would have 4.5 GW of offshore wind farms in operation by end 2023. This has been amply achieved with a capacity of 4.7 GW. We succeeded on time, within budget and with almost no subsidies. This is an important milestone for the Dutch and European wind industry.

Since 2018, five wind farm sites off the Dutch coast have been granted subsidy-free permits. The realisation phase, once the permits for the offshore wind farms have been awarded, has shortened considerably in recent years, falling from 7-10 years to 3-4 years. One of the pillars supporting this efficiency drive is the Dutch 'one-stop-shop' principle for offshore wind farm tenders. This means that an offshore wind farm project developer can rely on the central government for all information and permits.

2024: largest tender round in the Netherlands to date

The next offshore wind farm tenders will open at the end of February 2024. These concern the IJmuiden Ver Wind Farm Sites Alpha and Beta. IJmuiden Ver is the largest wind farm zone in the Netherlands. The Alpha and Beta sites combined account for 4 GW. The wind farms will be located more than 60 km from the Dutch coast, near IJmuiden. They are expected to be put into use in 2029 and 2030.

Next week, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy will publish the final Ministerial Orders (regulations) for the tenders and the final Wind Farm Site Decisions. The ministry is also publishing an amended 'offshore wind energy implementation regulation' to ensure that safety can be taken into account even more during the permit procedure. The tenders will use a so-called comparative test with an additional financial offer. This method was also used in the Hollandse Kust (west) tender. Ecology and integration of the electricity generated into the national grid are important aspects of the tenders; the Government wants to stimulate solution-oriented and innovative bids.

By end 2031, the Netherlands wants to achieve approximately 21 GW of installed offshore wind energy capacity.

Minister for Climate and Energy, Rob Jetten, said: “The North Sea will become the supplier of green electricity for Europe and an indispensable part of the sustainable energy system of the future. In recent years, the Netherlands has made great strides with nature-oriented and technical innovations. Costs have fallen and we have started working increasingly more efficiently. We can be proud of that. I am also pleased that we can now take an important step forward with the largest Dutch tender round to date.

For an impression of 10 years of the 'Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap', see this film on (Dutch).