This video tells the story of the Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap 2013-2023, the project involving the installation of wind farms in the Dutch North Sea. Various people from different organisations, who are or have been involved in this, are featured. Former Minister of Economic Affairs, Henk Kamp, and Minister of Climate and Energy, Rob Jetten, also talk about wind energy in general and the offshore wind programme in particular. The video also contains a voice-over.
Clouds are gathering. They pass over at an accelerated pace. A close-up shows blowing grains of sand.
VOICE-OVER: "In this country full of knowledge about water and wind, the changing climate quickly became urgent. What started with a lot of scepticism and doubt, developed into the belief that we can succeed. Fueled by ambition, pioneers took steps into unknown terrain. Stormy developments never arise by themselves. They are created. This is the story of Offshore Wind."
The story of Offshore Wind
Opening Egmond aan Zee
A news item from 2007 shows Maria van der Hoeven, Minister of Economic Affairs.
MARIA VAN DER HOEVEN: "We are currently in Egmond aan Zee. Today, the first offshore wind farm in the Netherlands was put into use, a fantastic project where around 36 large wind turbines provide energy for at least a hundred thousand households. Providing clean energy. And that is something to be very proud of."
Opening Princess Amalia
A pie chart entitled '1.0 gigawatt offshore wind power' shows the Egmond aan Zee Wind Farm, the Princess Amalia Wind Farm and the Luchterduinen Wind Farm, yet to be developed, as three small pie slices, and the Gemini Wind Farm, yet to be developed, as the fourth, large pie slice.
VOICE-OVER: "What started small and fragmented became an important part of the Energy Agreement. And what followed was the Roadmap to 2023."
September 6, 2013
A news image from 2013 shows a press moment with several people sitting in a meeting room.
NEWSREADER: "The Energy Agreement was signed this afternoon, after months of negotiations. Under the leadership of the Social Economic Council, employers, employees and environmental organisations have made far-reaching agreements on energy savings and making our energy more sustainable."
VOICE-OVER: "The Dutch Government wants to go from 1 gigawatt to 4.5 gigawatts of offshore wind in 2023, enough for 16 percent of our current electricity consumption."
The title of the pie chart changes from '1.0 gigawatt offshore wind power' to '4.5 gigawatts offshore wind power'.
VOICE-OVER: "This growth requires the realisation of large wind farms. Three energy areas in the North Sea are designated for this purpose: Borssele, Hollandse Kust (zuid) and Hollandse Kust (noord)."
The locations of these energy areas in the North Sea are indicated on a map of the Netherlands. Borssele is located off the coast of Zeeland, Hollandse Kust (zuid) is located near South Holland and Hollandse Kust (noord) is located near North Holland.
A butterfly lands on a bush. Green tree leaves dance in the wind.
Former Minister of Economic Affairs, Henk Kamp, takes a seat in a sunny garden.
HENK KAMP: "It is, of course, a very large project to ensure that there are a lot of offshore wind turbines, large wind turbines and all with the licensing, planning, everything that comes with it. It was a very large project."
Former Head of Climate and Energy at Natuur & Milieu, Ron Wit, sits on a stool in a dune landscape.
RON WIT: "Particularly in the field of energy and climate policy, we have actually been pursuing a zigzag policy in the Netherlands for years. Both NGOs and the business community, but also other social organisations, were like: 'Yes, it cannot be done this way any longer'. We must come together and try to find a stable course for the Netherlands."
HENK KAMP: "The aim was to get companies to agree to produce and install those wind turbines there. So we had to arrange the planning as a government. We had to arrange the permits , the tenders, we had ensure that the financing was in place, there had to be sufficient political support, also in the longer term. And we had to arrange the onshore connections for the electricity that came to the country. We had to arrange all that."
RON WIT: "Offshore wind was actually in its infancy. It was still a very nascent technology. There were a few elements that were crucial in that agreement. So that is not just the rollout path of 3.5 gigawatts. It was also the reciprocal performance agreement that the sector would then achieve a 40 percent cost reduction and the Government would remove risks from companies."
HENK KAMP: "We knew that if we did our own work at the ministry well, if everything was arranged properly, the companies could concentrate solely on the technology and the price."
RON WIT: "The ministries actually worked somewhat separately at first. After 2013, they opted for a different collaboration, with one overall programme director who then coordinated efforts, which allowed for the development of the site system and tender system and the designation of the offshore wind farm zones in a much more successful and effective manner. As a result, the sector was no longer sent from pillar to post and we could develop this [offshore wind programme] together."
The Dutch approach
VOICE-OVER: "Within the national government, the Ministry of Economic Affairs was responsible for this task and worked closely with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and Rijkswaterstaat. And with TenneT as the grid operator in the North Sea, these organisations implemented the Offshore Wind policy."
René Moor, former programme manager of Offshore Wind (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate), stands at the Euromast in Rotterdam.
RENÉ MOOR: "We obviously had no experience with offshore wind at all. And I thought: okay, offshore wind, yes how? I will probably need a few more colleagues to realise that."
VOICE-OVER: "The construction of an offshore power network by grid operator TenneT marked the start of Offshore Wind."
Marco Kuijpers, director of Large Projects Offshore at TenneT, sits in a room with large windows overlooking a green landscape.
MARCO KUIJPERS: "When the Roadmap started, or actually the preparation for it, the question was: would TenneT be given the role of offshore grid operator and why would that be? And then I was invited with the then CEO of TenneT, Mel Kroon, by the Minister of Economic Affairs at that time, Mr Kamp. Before I even sat down, the question was: "I heard that you can’t do that and you have 45 minutes to explain that you can." We did that and after the discussion he said: "Well, I am confident that you can do it. And I really want you to make it a success, because I look to you for it."
RENÉ MOOR: "Kamp had agreed that 3,500 megawatts would be installed offshore. Obviously, he didn't have a good idea of how big those wind farms should be. When we thought about it, we thought: If you want standardisation, it would be much better to have each wind farm approximately the same size. So then, which was really very special, we said: "We are doing five wind farms [each] of 700 megawatts." Of course, that also meant that we had to plot where those wind farms would be located. Previously, the developers would figure that out, but now we did. We said: "On that spot, there alone, there will be a wind farm."
MARCO KUIJPERS: "Wind farms produce electricity and we collect it in a so-called [substation] platform or a socket and there it is converted to a higher voltage level so it can be transported to land and there it arrives at the onshore substation and feeds into the high-voltage grid that you know on land. We knew that we had to build five offshore transformer substations, sockets. And we said: we are going to standardise them. The big advantage is that, for example with spare parts, with one transformer or two transformers, you can do five. Otherwise you need a spare part every time. These are expensive parts. You can also actually maintain them cheaper because they are always the same. And what we were also able to do, because we were the offshore grid operator, was immediately start with all permits and the like with, for example, project number five, so that you were actually able to reduce the risks in the entire overall process for the wind farm developers."
VOICE-OVER: "A project the size of Offshore Wind encounters enough obstacles. These can only be overcome if the sector knows how to work with each other and put their heads together."
Jan Vos, chairman of the Dutch Wind Energy Association (NWEA) is sitting in an office space.
JAN VOS: "The history of wind energy in the Netherlands goes back to 1972. That was actually the first time that people started thinking about the finite nature of the natural resources we have and the use of fossil energy. At that time a number of them started by putting wind turbines in their backyard. On a lamppost literally. At a certain point they started building bigger wind turbines and more professionally. Then they had more power than they needed at home. And then they thought: we can feed that into the grid. But those grid operators said: "Feeding into the grid, wind turbines and associated hardware, I don't feel like doing that." Then they united, all those people together. They said: "Let's work together to realise such a connection." And to this day, that is an important part of our work. Our advocacy consists of trying to shape the energy transition as best as possible towards the government and network companies and also in cooperation."
VOICE-OVER: "The effects on nature have been taken into account from the start. Wind farms have consequences for nature in the North Sea area, positive and negative. Whether it concerns marine mammals, fish, birds, bats or benthic (seabed) animals. In the Offshore Wind Ecological Programme, the national government examines these effects and tries to minimise the negative consequences and stimulate positive opportunities."
Conny Groot, senior project leader for Natuur & Milieu, is standing on a beach.
CONNY GROOT: "More offshore wind is desperately needed to combat climate change. We cannot do that without nature. The North Sea nature is impoverished and we must do everything we can to strengthen North Sea nature again. Nature & Environment and the North Sea Foundation took up the challenge at a certain point and we said: "We can still learn so much from nature reinforcement in wind farms, especially underwater." That is why they developed the Rich North Sea programme. With the Rich North Sea, we are investigating which nature-enhancing measures work well and we can eventually roll this out to all wind farms."
Birds search for food in the surf. The sunset turns the sea orange.
CONNY GROOT: "Actually in the wind farm you also have beta platforms and the cables that run there and back. On those cables, in particular the cable crossings as we call them, you can place very nice stone deposits. But we can also look at what nature-enhancing measures we can apply there. And that is a win-win."
The camera glides over the sea, with a horizon where there is nothing but water.
MARCO KUIJPERS: "When we were developing the substation platform, at one point, I and a number of colleagues were thinking: perhaps there are more parties that need fixed locations to, for example, take measurements. Then we started asking around and it turned out that there was enormous interest. That concerns weather, radar, but also bird radar, but also bats. So all those kinds of measuring systems. A kind of [measuring] mast has been made. Rijkswaterstaat has coordinated that and they are on all our platforms built to date. With that, we have been able to provide extra added value for Dutch society."
JAN VOS: "In 2013, the cost of offshore wind energy was, I believe, 17 cents per kilowatt hour and that had to go to about 5 cents per kilowatt hour to become competitive. To be able to generate wind energy without a subsidy. We knew that was possible."
RENÉ MOOR: "When we started, offshore wind was simply an expensive technology. We thought, taking into account subsidy amounts offered in other countries, it would be between 12 and 15 cents. In the end, Ørsted won the first [Dutch] tender with 7.26 cents. That was really special, that was really so low. That also went around the world. Then you got that second tender and Shell won with Eneco. That was 5 point something cents. That was even lower. We were really overwhelmed. Vattenfall won the third tender, without subsidy. All those parties really stuck their necks out to realise the wind farms in very special circumstances."
Steven Engels, Borssele 1 and 2 / Ørsted, is sitting in an interview room.
STEVEN ENGELS: "It was a period of hard standardisation in the sector where the supply chain actually became increasingly expensive. Because we were the largest and had most of that stuff, monopiles etc., we were also the first to see that those costs really came down. As a result, we were able to submit a very low bid at the time, which other parties thought was impossible."
Marjolein Hormes , Borssele 1 and 2 / Ørsted , is sitting in an interview room.
MARJOLEIN HORMES: "Being the first at Borssele I and II brought many opportunities because we were able to work well together and actually create a kind of template as an industry, but especially in collaboration with the Government, with TenneT, with Rijkswaterstaat to shape projects, to design contracts, to be able to draw up collaborations that were used in the future for the other wind farms that followed us."
Jurjan Blokland, Borssele 3 and 4 / Van Oord, is sitting in an interview room.
JURJAN BLOKLAND: "The biggest challenge of Borssele III and IV was actually to build it in a very short time. One of the most important optimisations was to just do it faster and implement a compressed construction schedule. We finally did it in one year. That is only possible if you have a well-developed chain around you. That is absolutely the case in the Netherlands and Europe."
Ferdy Hengeveld, Borssele 5 / Van Oord, is sitting in an interview room.
FERDY HENGEVELD: "The challenge with innovations is that they have to be demonstrated in practice, so that is why the Dutch Government designated Borssele V as an innovation site. Where new innovations can be demonstrated. And that is where the innovations, such as the Slip Joint, are located. This [slip joint] works like two coffee cups that you slide over each other. And because you slide them over each other, they then get stuck. That is the simplest connection you can come up with. And that means that, in the future, installation of wind turbines will be much faster."
Irene Geerbex, Hollandse Kust (zuid) / Vattenfall, is sitting in an interview room.
IREEN GEERBEX: "In many ways this was the perfect project to achieve a significant reduction in costs. Of course, quite a bit of preparatory work had already been done in the site decisions by the Government, which gave us a very good idea of the site and what was expected of the project. Also that the grid connection fell outside the scope of the developer, that makes a big difference and makes it easier to focus on the wind farm itself. The cost reductions were already rapid, because the preconditions were good here. Also the wind and the soil. Everything was good. So this could be the first project to be built without subsidies."
Tjalling de Bruin, Hollandse Kust (noord) / CrossWind , is sitting in an interview room.
TJALLING DE BRUIN: "At Hollandse Kust (noord), we have had two major challenges. That was, first, to build the wind farm within three years. The second challenge is to demonstrate five innovations to supply more constant electricity. And we do that with a subsidy-free wind farm. The most exciting moment is actually: we can believe in that, but does the market also believe in it? And at this point we have signed all our contracts. So there are market parties who also believe in this just like we do. And we have actually started constructing these innovations.”
JAN VOS: "I think the increase in scale has been the most important element in the success of Offshore Wind. We have grown from 3.5 megawatt turbines to 15 megawatt turbines. Then you might think: yes, what is that really? There are hydroelectric power stations that are happy just because they generate 15 megawatts. We simply install those turbines en masse, of 15 megawatts each. So that is really a big step forward. In this sector, employment will only keep increasing because the rollout of wind energy worldwide has only just begun. So if you have to study something now, this is a wonderful sector that offers a bright future."
VOICE-OVER: "The Netherlands was on course."
Start of construction Borssele
Start of construction Hollandse Kust (zuid)
Start of construction Hollandse Kust (noord)
VOICE-OVER: "The Roadmap is moving faster and the new wind farms will generate even more than initially expected, with as much as 4.7 gigawatts installed."
A pie chart entitled '4.5 gigawatt offshore wind power' shows three new pie slices on the left: Borssele wind farm, Hollandse Kust (zuid) wind farm and Hollandse Kust wind farm (norord). +0.2 appears on the screen and the title of the pie chart changes to '4.7 gigawatt offshore wind power'.
Delivery Hollandse Kust (zuid)
VOICE-OVER: "And the first subsidy-free wind farm will be completed in 2023. These positive outcomes ensure that new, even bigger plans are made."
New goals, new results
A news image from 2019 shows a press conference at which various people from the Cabinet presented the Climate Plan.
NEWS READER: "The Cabinet proudly presents the long-awaited climate plans."
Eric Wiebers (VVD), Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate, takes the floor in the press conference.
ERIC WIEBERS: "I think it has turned out better than we could have expected. It is more ambitious than we had thought. It is more affordable for people than we thought in December. We are clearly, and more sharply than before, taking a pioneering role in this the transition. And we are going to entice everyone to participate."
Roadmap 2013 - 2023
The Roadmap timeline is extended to 2030.
VOICE-OVER: "The Climate Agreement sets a goal to install a total capacity of 11 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030. This 11 gigawatts accounts for 40 percent of our current electricity consumption."
A pie chart with the title '4.5 gigawatt offshore wind power'. +6.3 appears on the screen and the title of the pie chart changes to '11 gigawatt offshore wind power'.
Electricity consumption 2023
Rob Jetten, Minister for Climate & Energy, is sitting in a meeting room.
ROB JETTEN: "As a country, you also want to be self-sufficient to a large extent. Having control over your own energy production and energy infrastructure, ensuring you can do that for a predictable price. For the first time in the Netherlands, we have also thought about: what will our energy system of the future look like? How do we ensure we achieve this on time in the coming years? That we produce sufficient clean electricity in the Netherlands and that the plans and projects we have also connect well with this. We are also working with the other users of the North Sea to maintain sufficient support for the great ambitions we have there."
Wind turbines are installed at sea.
Tightened climate target
VOICE-OVER: "The European CO2 reduction targets will be adjusted in 2022."
A pie chart with the title '11 gigawatts of offshore wind power'. +10 appears on the screen and the title of the pie chart changes to '21 gigawatt offshore wind power'.
Electricity consumption 2023
VOICE-OVER: "Offshore wind energy capacity will be further increased to approximately 21 gigawatts. Good for 75 percent of our current electricity consumption."
JAN VOS: "The fact that the business community, government, politicians, civil servants, social organisations, nature and environmental organisations were prepared to make agreements together for a period of ten years and really say: 'We will put our shoulders to the wheel together and we we also adhere to it', that has ultimately been the success, and that is also the success of the Netherlands. Creating success is one thing, but expanding success is not as easy as is sometimes thought. For that, we have to look carefully at what has happened over the past ten years."
MARCO KUIJPERS: "A total of 21 gigawatts is a huge ambition. And we saw, because we were already working on the first projects, that this ambition was coming. It was being increased again and again, so we could anticipate it. So we have already started with the projects, started with the permits and we also started to define our strategy. This also includes continuing to standardise, but also that we continue with long-term partnerships. So we have entered into tenders. We have actually already contracted all the partners, for example, the contractors, for all projects for that 21 gigawatts. So we can already get started on all those projects."
CONNY GROOT: "We at Nature & Environment are really proud of the fact that there is now 4.7 gigawatts in the North Sea. We also know that much more needs to be added and we are happy to do that together with the offshore industry and science. Because we also know that offshore wind can only coexist if we also strengthen nature."
RENÉ MOOR: "It is still a challenge to achieve that. Especially when it comes to ecology, that remains very exciting. Then, of course, we might soon have 21 gigawatts of offshore wind in 2030-2031 and that is really gigantic. We can really benefit from that."
Waves roll onto the beach.
Wind turbines stand in the sea.
HENK KAMP: "If you confront each other when realising these types of projects, nothing will come of it. So what happened from the start is that both civil servants and companies looked for opportunities for cooperation and took advantage of them. That is something that went very well with this major Offshore Wind project."
RON WIT: "I am most proud of the fact that we have succeeded in converting a period before 2013, where there was no plan for the energy transition, into stable long-term policy through the Energy Agreement. It just worked."
ROB JETTEN: "What I am extremely proud of is how hard everyone has worked in recent years. Everyone has really stuck their neck out to make this happen. So we owe them a lot of thanks. "
VOICE-OVER: "This is how offshore wind energy was introduced in the Netherlands. This stream of progress will continue to develop in the coming years. There is no shortage of ambition. All the lessons learned, experience gained and collaborations formed give us a solid foundation for the future."
Wind turbines rotate at sea
This film was made in collaboration with:
Jurjan Blokland, Tjalling de Bruin, Steven Engels, Ireen Geerbex , Conny Groot, Ferdy Hengeveld, Marjolein Hormes , Rob Jetten , Henk Kamp, Marco Kuijpers, René Moor, Jan Vos & Ron Wit.
CoP North Sea, Crosswind, MatZwart, Mischa Keijser, Nature & Environment.
NWEA, NWO, Ørsted, Public Cinema, Rijkswaterstaat.
RVO, Shell, TenneT, Van Oord and Vattenfall .
Logo Offshore Wind, Celebration Roadmap 2023
Thanks to all the makers of Offshore Wind