Offshore Wind Energy Plans 2030-2050
Offshore wind energy is one of the most important pillars of climate policy in the Netherlands. By 2050, we want our energy supply to be climate neutral. This means the way we use energy does not contribute to climate change. The generation of energy from offshore wind is indispensable in this respect. So, what are our plans for 2030-2050?
More offshore wind energy is needed to achieve the climate goal of a 55% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030. In 2022, the Government raised the target for offshore wind capacity from 11 to 21 gigawatts (GW) by 2030/2031. Achieving this target means offshore wind farms will supply 16% of Dutch energy needs. It also equates to approximately 75% of our current electricity consumption.
Our electricity consumption is, however, expected to increase. Therefore, we will need even more offshore wind to be developed after 2030. Future scenarios for energy systems (supply and demand) and the North Sea Energy Outlook (Noordzee Energie Outlook) indicate we will need between 38 and 72 GW of cumulative offshore wind capacity by 2050.
What is needed to generate more energy from offshore wind after 2030? In September 2022, Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Rob Jetten, informed the House of Representatives about the Government's vision on the further realisation of offshore wind energy after 2030. In brief, the main points of this vision are:
- The Dutch Government wants to ensure society becomes more sustainable in time to meet our 2050 net zero goals. That is why the Government is focusing on the generation of energy from approximately 50 GW of offshore wind in 2040 and approximately 70 GW in 2050.
- The Government expects that we will use a large part of the energy generated from offshore wind for hydrogen production in the future. We also expect to develop so-called 'energy hubs' in areas further out to sea. These will become key nodes (connection points) in an energy system using a diverse mix of energy carriers and power generation sources.
- The Government is launching the North Sea Energy System Development Programme (Ontwikkelprogramma Energiesysteem Noordzee). This programme will ensure that new techniques and policy frameworks are available in time to meet our ambitions for further growth of offshore wind after 2030.
- The Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap (Routekaart Windenergie op zee) outlines the plan for wind farm projects we are going to realise. The Roadmap looks about 10 years ahead. We regularly update the Roadmap.
- The Dutch Government will stick to the 'one-stop-shop' principle for permits for offshore wind farms and the offshore grid (information in Dutch). The Government will provide all information and permit details to offshore wind developers.
Read more about the vision
Partial Review of the North Sea Programma (Partiële herziening van het Programma Noordzee)
With the offshore wind target being increased from 11 GW to more than 21 GW by 2031, more areas for offshore wind farm development are needed. The North Sea Agreement (Noordzeeakkoord) is an important starting point for generating more energy from offshore wind. This states that we are investigating whether there is room for additional offshore wind farms. In the North Sea Programme 2022-2027 (Noordzeeprogramma 2022-2027), the Government designated the three new wind energy areas (Nederwiek, Lagelander and Doordewind) for this purpose. Two previously designated areas, Hollandse Kust (southwest) and Hollandse Kust (northwest), were also removed from the programme as investigation showed they areas are less suitable for development due to potential impacts on ecology, shipping and fishing.
The Government's vision further raises the offshore wind targets. It is therefore designating new wind energy areas in order to achieve these additional goals. The Cabinet is doing this via the so-called 'Partial Review of the North Sea Programme'. In the first quarter of 2023, the Government will present a plan on how we will implement this (ambition, points for attention and planning).
In pictures: Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap
The Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap shows where wind farms are located and indicates where new projects will be built, clearly identifying the offshore wind farm zones designated as areas for construction of wind farms in the future. The Roadmap looks about 10 years ahead.
In June 2022, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK) published the Additional Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap 2030/2031.
In 2024, the Ministry will update the Roadmap with the newly designated areas from the Partial Review of the North Sea Programme.
View the Roadmap:
Dutch Offshore Wind Market Report 2023
Commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, the Dutch Offshore Wind Market Report 2023 has been published. This was presented to Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope, on April 25. The market update report is an overview of the key facts and figures on the Dutch offshore wind sector.
Minister Jetten also wants to better coordinate the supply and demand of offshore wind energy (generation and use). This will be achieved by working closely with the sector with greatest energy demand: industry. Together, we will add new projects to the Roadmap and select so-called 'landing locations' in the Programme for the Investigation of Cable Landing Points for Offshore Wind Energy 2031-2040 (Programma Verbindingen Aanlanding Windenergie op Zee, VAWOZ). At an onshore location, we bring the electricity from offshore wind farms to land via the high-voltage grid.
North Sea Energy Infrastructure Plan
For further development of offshore wind projects after 2030, we need to know what infrastructure will be required to connect, transport and land increasing amounts of offshore energy. Offshore wind farms generate electricity and the Government expects that some of this will eventually be used to produce hydrogen, initially at coastal locations onshore, but later offshore too. The Government is therefore working with a 'hub-based' approach for the rollout of new offshore wind energy projects. Offshore energy hubs are network nodes connected directly to the offshore wind farms. Transmission cables and pipelines from the hubs then transport the energy generated by the wind farms to land either in the form of electricity or hydrogen.
For the new, larger areas planned for post-2030 offshore wind farms, which are also further out in the North Sea, we are looking at the form in which the energy generated can best be brought ashore. This requires an integrated vision of the offshore energy infrastructure, with a strategic plan that takes into account all elements of the offshore wind energy chain, from a national and international perspective.
In a letter to Parliament on 16 September 2022, the Minister for Climate and Energy, Rob Jetten, announced that a North Sea Energy Infrastructure Plan (Energie Infrastructuur Plan Noordzee, EIPN) is being drawn up. The EIPN will provide a strategic plan for development of the infrastructure required for offshore wind energy in the 2030 to 2050 period and how this will be integrated into the energy system. The plan will also provide insight into the key decisions regarding (industry) roles, market frameworks and legislation.
The EIPN will identify where, when and what type of infrastructure is needed for:
- further realisation of offshore wind projects after 2030;
- production of hydrogen at sea and scenarios for reusing existing gas infrastructure for hydrogen transport;
- the interconnected electricity and hydrogen transport infrastructure to the Dutch mainland and (offshore energy hubs of) surrounding North Sea countries.
During 2023, we will work on the EIPN. It is due for completion in early 2024.
Watch our 2023 webinars again
In 2023, we organised 2 webinars about the North Sea Energy Infrastructure Plan (EIPN) and the landing of offshore wind energy. On 14 February, we introduced the EIPN to you. After this, a number of consultancy firms worked together to assess the plan.
We held the 2nd webinar on 9 November. In this webinar, we updated you on the progress of the 2 landfall programmes: Investigation of Offshore Wind Energy Landfall Options (Verkenning Aanlanding Wind op Zee, VAWOZ) and the Offshore Wind Energy Connection Programme – Eemshaven (Programma Aanlanding Wind Op Zee, PAWOZ-Eemshaven). These programmes work to bring the energy generated by offshore wind to the onshore network.
On 9 November, we also presented the recommendations of the consultancy firms for the EIPN. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate may take these erecommendations into account in the further development of the plan.
Agreements and milestones
In order to implement the Government's vision for offshore wind, important agreements have been made (policy agenda) with a number of concrete milestones. These are reflected in various plans and programmes:
A pathway for offshore wind development to 2050, including indicative targets for 2035, 2040 and 2050 (Q2 2023)
- Research into the possible reuse of gas infrastructure in the North Sea for hydrogen (Autumn 2022)
- Elaboration of the market organisation (which companies are allowed to be active on the market) and the possible role of a public grid operator for offshore hydrogen (Autumn 2022)
- Start an innovation programme for energy hubs and offshore hydrogen (Autumn 2022)
- Prepare a North Sea Energy Infrastructure Plan 2050, including options for reusing existing gas infrastructure (Preliminary assessment done in 2022, which will feed into the EIPN in 2023)
- Creation of a broader policy framework (market framework, regulations and tenders) for offshore hydrogen and energy hubs (and for any necessary legislation afterwards) (2022-2023)
- Design of tenders relating to permits for the sites in the Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap 2030/2031 yet to be awarded (which will take total installed offshore wind capacity to 21 GW) (Q4 2022)
- Designation of new wind farm zones and search areas after 2031 in the Partial Review of the North Sea Programme 2022-2027 (choice of ambition, scope and timeline) (Q1 2023)
- Mapping of the landing location options for electricity connections and hydrogen pipelines in the VAWOZ Programme 2031-2040 (2024)
- Additional Offshore Wind Energy Roadmap with projects after 2031 (2024)
Source: letter from Minister to House of Representatives
- Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy