Offshore wind energy is one of the most important pillars of climate policy. It is indispensable when it comes to achieving a climate-neutral energy supply by 2050.
The target in the current Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap 2030 is 49 TWh (approximately 11.5 GW) by 2030. In order to achieve climate neutrality, more offshore wind energy will be needed in the period after 2030 as well.
Future energy system scenarios (supply and demand) and the North Sea Energy Outlook indicate that between 38 and 72 GW of offshore wind energy will be needed by 2050. In order to determine where, when and how much offshore wind energy will actually be developed, a new approach and roadmap are required.
North Sea Programme 2022–2027
An important starting point for more offshore wind energy is the North Sea Agreement. This includes a clause to explore the scope for between 20 and 40 GW of additional offshore wind capacity to be installed on top of the 11.5 GW mentioned earlier. In the North Sea Programme 2022–2027, this translates into a brief for an additional 27 GW of offshore wind energy. Combined with the 11.5 GW, this will be enough to reach the minimum of the 38-72 GW total offshore wind capacity target.
No fewer than 8 new search areas have been identified for this purpose. The offshore wind farms for the additional 27 GW will be built from 2030 onwards. However, it is possible the government may decide to build some of them before 2030. This is in order to give substance to the more stringent European CO2-target for 2030.
The new government is expected to decide on such an accelerated roll-out of offshore wind later in 2021. The North Sea Programme 2022–2027 is part of the National Water Programme 2022–2027. You can find more information via the National Water Programme 2022–2027 Participation Platform.
New offshore wind energy approach
The increasing share of offshore wind energy after 2030 requires integration into the energy system. This means the supply of offshore wind energy must match demand and the construction of transmission infrastructure, conversion systems (e.g. to hydrogen) and storage of wind-generated electricity or hydrogen must take place in tandem.
We need to adapt the market structure, regulatory framework and everything else needed for future offshore wind energy and related energy generation projects. This will ultimately lead to changes such as a different design for wind farm tenders.
Partnerships and studies
A special webinar on 3 June 2021 marked the start of the process. As part of this process, the Government, wind farm developers, grid operators and industrial parties are working together to shape the new approach. Where necessary, external studies are being commissioned. We will publish the outcomes of those studies on this website.
Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap 2040
With a roadmap for the period towards 2040, we are giving shape to the roll-out of offshore wind energy in terms of space and time and to the technical outlines for integration into the energy system. We distinguish between a roadmap for the planning of the new wind farms and a development plan for the required transmission infrastructure.
When it comes to the infrastructure development plan, the European context is important. The European Commission (EC) will use the European Union (EU) Strategy on Offshore Renewable Energy to set the limits for offshore grid planning. In addition, the EC has indicated it wants to grant powers for this mainly to the grid operators and the EC itself. The Dutch development plan should therefore be consistent with this and provide clarity on the division of powers.
As part of the new approach and roadmap for offshore wind energy, we are working towards 3 important milestones:
- 2021: a letter to the House of Representatives from the new government containing the main points of the new approach and the Roadmap for 2040;
- 2022: decision on a possible accelerated offshore wind roll-out for 2030 and publication of the corresponding supplement to the Roadmap for 2030;
- 2023: adoption of a new approach and Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap 2040.