Dutch king visits North Sea energy production sites

Yesterday, 25 August 2022, his Majesty King Willem-Alexander paid a working visit to various locations on the North Sea where the future energy system is being worked on, with offshore wind, solar and green hydrogen.

The King travelled on the Damen Shipyard’s 7011 Fast Crew Supplier Aqua Helix. During his visit, he was given a tour along one of TenneT’s Hollandse Kust (zuid) offshore platforms, the Hollandse Kust Zuid offshore wind which is currently under construction, a production platform by Neptune Energy, and a pilot project with floating solar panels by Oceans of Energy.

All projects contribute to the Dutch Government’s ambition for the energy system to become CO2 neutral by 2050. The energy system of the future is characterised by the system integration of electrons – from wind turbines and solar parks – and sustainable molecules, such as green hydrogen. The North Sea plays an important role in this, since a large part of the Netherlands’ energy can be generated at sea.

The working visit began on Neptune Energy’s Q13a-A platform, where the PosHYdon green hydrogen pilot project is being prepared. Here, offshore wind, offshore gas and green hydrogen production from seawater will be integrated on an existing platform. The green hydrogen is transported to land via an existing pipeline. TNO is involved as a knowledge partner and is carrying out the test programme. The lessons learned here can be used in the further roll-out and upscaling of offshore hydrogen production from offshore wind in the North Sea.

The King then visited one of TenneT’s transformer platforms of the offshore grid connection Hollandse Kust Zuid (HKZ). The offshore stations collect the power generated in the Hollandse Kust Zuid offshore wind farm owned by Vattenfall, BASF and Allianz, and transports it to the land connection.

Not far from the Q13a-A platform was the next stop, where Oceans of Energy is testing floating solar panels. This offshore solar farm system is the first and only in the world and has been weathering heavy winter storms with high waves for several years now. The Netherlands does not have enough suitable space available on land to harness the energy from the sun that is needed for the future energy mix of electrons and molecules. The Oceans of Energy pilot project is a step towards large-scale roll-out at sea. In the future, floating solar parks can be integrated into wind farms and hydrogen plants on the North Sea.

Finally, the King held talks with representatives of the parties and organisations involved in energy transition at sea, including NVDE, NWEA, the North Sea Foundation, EBN, Gasunie, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Change, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the North Sea Consultative Committee. The importance of system integration and national and international collaboration between various stakeholders was emphasised. The parties also emphasised the importance of developing energy generation in a balanced way with the natural value of the North Sea. Source: TenneT Photo: Patrick van Katwijk & RVD

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