Offshore wind energy

By 2050, all energy used in the Netherlands will need to come from sustainable sources. Offshore wind energy will enable the transition to a carbon-free energy supply.

Why offshore wind energy?

The North Sea is a great place for the Netherlands to generate wind energy offshore due to:

  • its relatively shallow waters;
  • its favourable wind climate;
  • the proximity of great ports and (industrial) energy consumers.

The costs of offshore wind energy have fallen significantly in recent years, making it the cheapest large-scale source of sustainable energy. Besides wind energy, the energy transition will also require other sustainable energy sources. Such as onshore wind energy, solar and energy from biomass.

Wind energy targets

At least 4.5 GW’s worth of offshore wind turbines need to be in operation by 2023. This commitment is enshrined in the Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth. Offshore wind turbines will then supply 3.3% of all the energy in the Netherlands.

The Climate Agreement (2019) and the coalition agreement (2021) include a commitment to maintain the offshore wind energy policy. Consequently, some 21 GW’s worth of offshore wind farms will need to be in operation around 2030, which is enough to supply 16% of all the energy in the Netherlands and 75% of current electricity consumption.

The potential economic opportunities arising from offshore wind farms are considerable. A large domestic market gives the Dutch offshore and wind sector the opportunity to continue developing its expertise and hence to reinforce its strong international position. Dutch companies already hold a market share of approximately 25 percent of the total European offshore wind energy market.

​​​​​​​Approach: Offshore Wind Energy Road Map

Following consultation with parties involved, the government has presented its plans in the ‘Offshore Wind Energy Road Map’. This sets out details such as where and when the new wind farms will be built. By doing so, the Road Map provides clarity to all stakeholders and ensures certainty for wind farm developers.

The area map below provides an overview of the locations of the wind farm zones. The Offshore Wind Energy image can also be downloaded.

Enlarge image

Between 2020 and 2023, two wind farms are to be constructed in the Borssele wind farm zone, with a further three wind farms planned 18.5 km off the coast of the provinces of Zuid-Holland and Noord-Holland. These will be followed, between 2024 and 2031, by wind farms far out to sea to the west and north of the Netherlands in (parts of) the Hollandse Kust (west), Ten noorden van de Waddeneilanden, IJmuiden Ver, Nederwiek and Doordewind wind farm zones.

Planning and proposed tender schedule for offshore wind energy

Capacity (GW)

Wind farm zone, site(s) Tender for sites (Anticipated) commissioning date of wind farm
0.75 Borssele, Sites I and II Implemented in 2016 2020
0.75 Borssele, Sites III, IV en V Implemented in 2016 2020
0.76 Hollandse Kust (zuid), Sites I en II Implemented in 2017 (2022-2023)
0.76 Hollandse Kust (zuid), Sites III en IV Implemented in 2019 (2022-2023)
0.76 Hollandse Kust (noord), Site V Implemented in 2020 (2023)
approx. 0.7 Hollandse Kust (west), Site VI Implemented in 2022 (2025-2026)
approx. 0.7 Hollandse Kust (west), Site VII Implemented in 2022 (2025-2026)
approx. 1 IJmuiden Ver, Site III Fourth quarter of 2023 (2028)
approx. 1 IJmuiden Ver, Site IV Fourth quarter of 2023 (2028)
approx. 1 IJmuiden Ver, Site I Fourth quarter of 2023 (2029)
approx. 1 IJmuiden Ver, Site II Fourth quarter of 2023 (2029)
approx. 1 IJmuiden Ver, (noord), Site V Second quarter of 2025 (2029)
approx. 1 IJmuiden Ver, (noord), Site VI Second quarter of 2025 (2029)
approx. 2.0 Nederwiek (zuid), Site I Second quarter of 2025 (2029)
approx. 2.0 Nederwiek (noord), Site II 2026* (2030)
approx. 2.0 Nederwiek (noord), Site III 2026* (2031)
approx. 0.7 Hollandse Kust (west), Site VII 2026/2027* TBD*
approx. 0.7 Ten noorden van de Waddeneilanden, Site I 2026/2027* (2031)
approx. 2.0  Doordewind, Site I 2027* (2031)
approx. 2.0  Doordewind, Site II 2027* (2031)

* The tender dates for these wind farm zones are indicative. A final decision on the schedule is expected to be taken in 2024.

Construction of wind farms and connection to grid

The government establishes all the conditions for planning and building wind farms, including their location, the measures to protect nature and the necessary permits. To this end, the government researches the structure of the site, the seabed, wind speeds and water data. This ensures that wind farm developers are provided with all the information they need in advance to be able to present their best bid. 

The government allocates the sites on the basis of tenders, in which wind farm developers compete with one another for permits. In 2022 and 2023, the wind farms in Hollandse Kust (zuid) wind farm zone will be the first subsidy-free operational wind farms in the world. The energy from wind farms is transferred to land via a system of electricity cables, i.e. the offshore grid. TenneT has been appointed grid operator for this purpose. Hence TenneT sees to it that the wind farms are connected to the onshore grid via the offshore grid. Thus ensuring that the energy gets to consumers.

Weighing of interests - offshore wind farms

When preparing and implementing plans for offshore wind energy, the government takes into consideration the interests of both offshore and onshore (coastal) stakeholders as much as possible.
Much of the North Sea is already being used, by shipping and fishing and for oil and gas extraction, for example. There are also sand mining areas, military training zones and nature reserves. At some locations, the sea is too deep to be suitable for wind turbines. The greater the distance to the coast, the longer and more expensive the cabling and maintenance will be as well.

As a result, determining the eventual location of wind turbines is a very delicate process. Relevant factors include affordability and energy yield, as well as the impact on nature and the other interests referred to above. The government welcomes the opinions and input of stakeholders and other interested parties in the process of wind farm construction. The same also applies in respect of the procedures for installing the connections of the offshore grid. The precise location of the landing connection, both at sea and on land, is also discussed at length with local parties in workshops or during information sessions. In addition, anyone may submit an opinion on or objection to the final decisions.

Public consultation on plans for offshore wind energy

Keen to contribute your ideas and opinions or to have a say in offshore wind energy decisions? There are opportunities to do so at various stages of the decision-making.

Further information

Further information on offshore wind energy (in Dutch) and on concrete wind farm projects can be found on the offshore wind energy website. The Energy Projects Office (Bureau Energieprojecten) provides arrangements for public consultation on decisions on siting wind farms (in Dutch) and the decisions concerning the connections of the offshore grid.