Research shows more port capacity needed to achieve 2030 offshore wind energy targets.

Published on:
21 November 2023
Last checked on:
23 November 2023

Nine countries in the North Sea region and the European Commission want to realise 120 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy by 2030. This objective creates a peak in activities in ports around the North Sea. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) commissioned research into how the ports should develop. This shows that action from governments, industry and financial institutions is necessary to achieve 2030 offshore wind goals.

More space needed on the quay

Together, the nine countries in the North Sea region and the European Commission form the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC). The NSEC countries have ambitious goals. By 2030, they want to have a combined capacity of 120 GW of offshore wind, with this rising to 300 GW by 2050. The 2030 target will require a peak of activities in ports around the North Sea between 2029 and 2031. To make this possible, much more space is needed on quays for components for wind turbines and installation vessels. The research suggests 850 to 1300 hectares is needed. However, even with currently planned expansions factored in, port capacity will be 800 hectares at most.


Royal HaskoningDHV's research shows there are five major bottlenecks in the development of port infrastructure for offshore wind energy:

  1. Uncertainty about demand for port space: are NSEC countries converting ambitions into real projects? When will they implement these projects? There is currently too little clarity in Europe about the long term. This makes it difficult to secure investments and financing.
  2. Unfavorable business case: the business case for the development of offshore wind ports is not attractive. Major long-term investments yield (too) little a return.
  3. Technical risks: uncertainty about the technology required entails risks, such as excessive investments or unsuitable quays for future offshore wind farms.
  4. Competition for space: ports have minimal space. There are also other parties that want to use the space which have clearer requirements and can offer ports more security and income.
  5. A 'mismatch' of interests: delays in development of offshore wind port infrastructure do not directly affect the ports. It does, on the other hand, have major consequences for achieving offshore wind and climate goals.

Recommendations per sector

The report sets a number of objectives. It proposes a number of solutions for each objective and, based on these, Royal HaskoningDHV makes recommendations per sector. Those recommendations are:

  • Governments and government agencies must provide more certainty on the demand side. For example, with clear project planning: where and when will the construction of offshore wind farms take place? This also requires good management of the plans;
  • Ports and the offshore wind supply chain must work together in infrastructure development and ensure the right financing;
  • Financial institutions must be allowed to invest in ports that are important for the development of offshore wind. Investments must be a balance between European subsidies and public money.

Read the full report on port infrastructure needs

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