Netherlands

Netherlands

Analysis - Netherlands national agreement supports offshore wind

NETHERLANDS: The Netherlands plans to introduce a raft of measures boosting wind power deployment under an agreement with trade unions, industry and independent experts formulating a sustainable energy policy.

The Netherlands is introducing measures to boost wind power (Picture credit: Eus Nieuwenhuizen)
The Netherlands is introducing measures to boost wind power (Picture credit: Eus Nieuwenhuizen)

Some of the most important measures address offshore wind, following a government promise to revive the sector after several years languishing on hold.

Most importantly, the agreement sets a target of 4450MW offshore wind capacity in 2023 and confirms the 6GW onshore target already announced.

This means the country will not meet its target of 16% renewable energy until 2023, rather than 2020 as previously indicated. Installed capacity currently stands at 2.7GW, of which just 228MW is offshore.

To speed deployment, the government will establish a legal framework for offshore wind, to be completed in 2015.

Among other things, this must lay out clear rules for grid connection, address constraints on piling and make the system more flexible, explains Ton Sledsens of the Dutch wind energy association. The government will also continue discussions on establishing an offshore grid.

On the financing side, the agreement indicates that the renewables incentives programme (SDE) should be extended to offshore wind.

It also gives "a very strong message" on the need for cost reduction, said Albert Jochems of Green Giraffe Energy Bankers.

The industry has already agreed to some fairly "aggressive" targets, including cutting costs by 40% by 2020, Jochems points out. This will now be supported by measures in the agreement, such as streamlining the permitting process and backing under the SDE.

The government will also set up a task force with the Dutch Banking Association (NVB) and the insurers and pension associations to find a way in which institutional investors can play a bigger role.

Given the quality of the debate so far, Jochems is optimistic that the agreement "will really help move things forward and make investments happen."

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