Netherlands to build three more offshore wind farms

Wind Farm at sea
Wind farm at sea.

The Dutch government plans to build three more offshore wind farms, in addition to five new wind farms already agreed upon in the Energy Agreement. The government wants the total offshore wind farms to produce 40 percent of the Netherlands' current electricity consumption by 2030. 

Two of the three new wind farms will be built off the Noord-Holland coast, the third north of the Wadden Islands. The government plans to open tenders for these wind farms in 2021. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate estimates that realizing these wind farms will cost between 15 and 20 billion euros in investments, and create 10 thousand jobs. 

As per the Energy Agreement, the government already plans to have five new wind farms built before 2023. These projects will be built off the Zeeland and Holland coasts in the coming years and will increase the capacity of offshore wind farms by 4.450 gigawatts in the next five years. 

The coalition agreement states that the capacity of offshore wind farms must increase by another 7 gigawatts between 2024 and 2030. This is expected to involve several hundred wind turbines. 

Building more offshore wind farms after 2030 will only be meaningful if the Netherlands' non-electric energy consumption - which is around 80 percent of the total energy consumption - becomes more sustainable, the government said in a statement. "This requires a switch to sustainable electricity in industry, building heating and mobility, but also creating 'green molecules' such as hydrogen produced with electricity from wind farms. This is exactly what will be discussed at the negotiation tables of the Climate Agreement", the government said. 

In a reaction to the government's plans, environmental organizations Natuur & Milieu and Greepeace said that they would like more speed from the government in the construction of wind farms. They want the government to double the growth of wind energy, according to NU.nl. 

"Up until 2030 the government wants to grow 1 gigawatt per year, but to achieve the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement, 2 gigawatt growth per year is desperately needed, Natuur & Milieu said, according to the newspaper. 

Greenpeace called it "excellent" that Minister Eric Wiebes of Economic Affairs and Climate is continuing the line of his predecessor Henk Kamp, which ensured a breakthrough for wind energy on the sea. "But the pace has to be twice as high to meet the Paris Agreement." According to Greenpeace, offshore wind energy is the best tool in the fight against climate change. 

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