Dutch government targets 70 GW offshore wind by 2050

Last Friday, Climate and Energy Minister Jetten informed the House of Representatives about the government’s vision on the further realisation of offshore wind energy until 2050. This assumes generating around 50 gigawatts of wind power capacity by 2040 and aiming for around 70 gigawatts by 2050. This is the maximum of what is thought to be needed.

With this, the cabinet wants to contribute to making industry and society in the Netherlands more sustainable quickly. Currently, the cabinet is already working towards some 21 gigawatts around 2030, which is about 75% of our country’s current electricity consumption.

Large-scale hydrogen production & energy hubs

Besides electricity generation, the cabinet also plans for large-scale hydrogen production in the North Sea. This will allow a large part of industry to switch from gas to green hydrogen. From 2030, offshore wind energy will come mainly in more distant areas of the North Sea, hundreds of kilometres from the coast. The government wants to realise large-scale offshore energy hubs in these distant areas. This means that not all wind farms will have to be connected separately to the onshore electricity grid, but several wind farms can be connected to the energy hub to produce hydrogen at sea as well. The energy can then be transported to land partly as electricity and partly as hydrogen. This means fewer power cables are needed to bring the energy ashore, saving costs and requiring less space on the coast. The hubs also allow connections to other North Sea countries, contributing to security of supply.

Earlier this week, the 9 European North Sea countries, united in the North Seas Energy Cooperation, agreed to jointly build 260 gigawatts of wind power capacity in the North Sea until 2050. It was also agreed in May this year that Denmark, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands will work closely together in the North Sea. The planned energy hubs of these countries will be interconnected. This will ensure a more robust energy system for all countries.

Other North Sea interests

The growth of offshore wind energy must go well with other interests in the North Sea, such as fisheries and nature. With the increase of offshore wind farms, ecological effects will increase. This must be carefully considered. There must also remain enough space in the North Sea for other activities such as food extraction and shipping. In the North Sea Programme, the central government investigates how all interests can coexist well in the North Sea. The government also discusses this with stakeholders in the North Sea consultation group. The government is investing in research to map out the effects of the wind farms as well as possible. In addition, wind farms can also have positive effects on underwater nature by having wind farms built nature-inclusively.

Action points

In the parliamentary letter, Minister Jetten also gave a concise overview of what actions he is taking and when he expects the results of these. The actions can be divided into two categories: drawing up a long-term guiding picture (Energy Infrastructure Plan North Sea 2050) and preparing for the future energy system on the North Sea on the one hand, and shaping the concrete realisation (the rolling roadmap offshore wind energy) after 2030 on the other. Read the entire parliamentary letter here (in Dutch).

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