European Offshore 2020: Netherlands - Moving the goalpost

Not having built any offshore projects in the past five years, the Netherlands postpones its plans in an effort to achieve its target. Shaun Campbell reports.

The Netherlands' response to the realisation that it would not reach its 2020 target for offshore wind was simply to move the goalposts. It has now set 2023 as the date by which 16% of its energy will be generated by renewable sources, with offshore wind to contribute 4.45GW. Two offshore projects are now operating: Egmond aan Zee (108MW), which came online in 2006, and Princess Amalia (120MW), fully operational since 2008. Nothing has been completed since.

Offshore development ground to a complete halt as the financial crisis struck, convincing the national government that offshore wind was too expensive to be a priority. The current administration, established after a general election in September 2012, is trying to put offshore wind back on the agenda. It now seems likely that several projects will be completed over the next few years, but what that will add by 2020 remains unclear.

The Mitsubishi Corporation has taken a 50% stake in the 129MW Luchterduinen project that is being developed by Dutch utility Eneco. Construction is due to start in July 2014 and to be completed in summer 2015, with Vestas supplying 43 V112 3MW turbines. Eneco is also behind the 282MW Brown Ridge Oost project, which should start generating electricity in 2016, while RWE's 295MW Tromp Binnen development could also come online in the next year or two.

There is no shortage of projects in the pipeline, but political uncertainty and lack of finance make it hard to predict which will see the light of day, and when.

Current offshore capacity: 228MW

NREAP 2023 aim: 4.45GW by 2023

Realistic forecast: From 939MW by 2020

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