Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs to invest in FLOW offshore wind energy project
Today, the outgoing Economic Affairs Minister Van der Hoeven granted funding of €19.5 million for the Far and Large Offshore Wind (FLOW) innovation project. The subsidy matches the same level of funding previously announced by the companies in the FLOW consortium.
The budget will be spent on the first phase of the FLOW project. This will involve research into and development of efficient wind turbines in the North Sea and innovative foundation concepts, as well as research into maintenance strategies and installation techniques for wind farms at greater depths and distances from the coast. The connection of these wind farms to the electricity grid is also part of the programme.
“The Minister is now acting on earlier promises and supporting the innovative powers of the Dutch business community in this area,” says Peter Terium, CEO of Essent and Chairman of the FLOW consortium. “In doing so, she is offering us the opportunity to further develop the role played by Dutch industry in the expanding international market for the generation of wind energy at sea.”
“The unique public/private partnership in FLOW offers The Netherlands the chance to take the lead in the market for offshore wind energy,” says Dirk Jan van den Berg, Chairman of the Executive Board at Delft University of Technology. “This move by the Government will have a significant impact, both in terms of sustainable energy supplies and the Dutch economy.”
By awarding the subsidy, the Minister is implementing the recommendations made earlier this month by the Taskforce ‘Wind Energie op Zee’ (Wind Energy at Sea). The research conducted by ‘het Innovatie Platform’ (the Innovation Platform) and the ‘SER’ (Social and Economic Council) also highlight the Dutch industry’s leading position in this field.
The FLOW project was launched in September last year by Dutch businesses and knowledge institutes, RWE/Essent, Eneco, TenneT, Ballast Nedam, Van Oord, IHC Merwede, 2-B Energy, XEMC Darwind, ECN and Delft University of Technology. The partners took the opportunity to formulate a business plan designed to enable the parties involved to adopt a leading position in the European market for offshore wind farms. In addition to the potential for employment, it also brings the Dutch Government a step closer to achieving its target for wind energy capacity of 6,000 megawatts at sea by 2020. The target set for the FLOW plan is to achieve a cost reduction of 20% for far shore wind energy by 2015 (compared to 2010).
Worldwide knowledge and experience of wind farms far offshore and at great depths is still in its early stages. FLOW aims to increase the reliability of these types of wind farms, accelerate their development and reduce risks and costs at the same time. The total budget of more than €19.5 million is intended for the first phase of FLOW, which will begin to take shape in the next four years.
A central part of the subsequent phase involves the development of a demonstration wind farm with 20 to 60 wind turbines (100 to 300 megawatts). The new concepts developed within FLOW can then be tested in the demonstration wind farm.
Source: flow-windpark, June 10, 2010;