The Government has chosen three areas in which offshore wind farms will be developed in the years to come. With this choice, the objective in the Energy Agreement to generate more wind energy will be achieved as inexpensively and as quickly as possible.
The issue of sites on which initiators can build wind farms is linked to the granting of subsidies and based on tenders, with the lowest price as the main criterion. In 2015, tenders will be invited for the development of a wind farm in Borssele. Then, from 2017 onward tenders for the development of wind farms for the South Holland and North Holland coast will be invited. Instead of several smaller offshore wind farms, the Government has decided on a limited number of large wind farms. The Government designates the locations, but it is then up to the market to actually realise the wind farms.
Wind farms in Borssele and the South and North Holland coast
The planning for the realisation of the agreements looks like this:
2015: 2 x 350 = 700 MW Borssele
2016: 2 x 350 = 700 MW Borssele
2017: 2 x 350 = 700 MW Zuid-Holland
2018: 2 x 350 = 700 MW Zuid-Holland
2019: 2 x 350 = 700 MW Noord-Holland
Offshore Wind Energy Act
The State will arrange all the conditions required to build these wind farms, such as their precise location, the permits and the connection to the electricity network. In addition, the State will provide subsidies to companies for the construction of the farms. The company that can build the best and least expensive wind farm will be simultaneously granted the subsidy and the permit to build the wind farm. In the past, companies had to already have a permit before they could compete for the subsidy, and they had to install the electricity cable themselves. This is now the task of grid manager TenneT. TenneT will construct five platforms of 700 MW with two 220 kV cables to the high-voltage network on land. Two wind farms can be connected to each platform. This will produce cost savings of €3 billion over the next 15 years. In order to implement the new system, a new law is necessary: the Offshore Wind Energy Act.
Wind farm site decisions offshore wind farms
In the three chosen areas, the State will make the ‘wind farm site decisions’. That can involve several wind farm site decisions in one area. Each site will have a capacity of approximately 350 MW. Each time, two sites will be connected to one TenneT platform. A ‘power socket’ like this can process a maximum of 700 MW capacity.
The wind farm site decision specifies where a wind farm may be built in the area and under which conditions. These conditions leave space for the builders to decide – within specific frameworks – which technique to use. The State will draw up an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for each site.
In addition, the State will study the structure of the site, the soil, the wind speeds and the water data for the sites. The project developers can use this information in their bid during the tender procedure. As part of the preparations for the tender for the first two sites in Borssele, regular consultation and knowledge exchange are taking place between the State and the wind energy sector. For more information, visit RVO.nl.