Dutch Minister Agrees on Offshore Wind Power Benefit

Dutch Minister Agrees on Offshore Wind Power Benefit

Maxime Verhagen is Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs – and so responsible for energy. In the latest Wind Directions, he explains why his government has cut spending on offshore wind energy.

The Minister starts by re-affirming the Dutch government’s commitment to the European renewables targets for 2020. “To meet these targets the government will stimulate the most cost-effective renewable energy mix”, he says.

He also agrees “on the potential of offshore wind for the Dutch economy”, adding that “The Netherlands has numerous companies with an outstanding record in designing, constructing and maintaining offshore wind farms.”

However, he warns that in his opinion “offshore wind remains a very uncompetitive option.”

“We are facing one of the worst financial crises in history”, he says. “This means budget cutbacks in many areas deemed important by taxpayers. In the light of this situation the Dutch government has committed to the European renewables targets for 2020, but has chosen to reach those goals in the least costly way possible. Offshore wind remains a very expensive option in the near future. The Dutch government is willing to invest in innovation to bring down the costs of offshore wind energy, but prices must come down considerably before large scale investments can again be supported.”

With the current policy of the Dutch government, the 14% EU target will probably not be met and they may well have to buy renewable energy abroad. The price for this will probably be in the range of the current costs of offshore wind, but without the national benefit of jobs and taxes.

When this point is put to him, the Minister says that energy policy will be re-evaluated in 2014, and implies that offshore wind could become part of the solution once again.

 “If necessary, we will then intensify our efforts to reach the targets. We are now doing what we can with the funds we have available, and depending on the cost of renewable energy, we can decide in 2014 if additional efforts are required. If we still have a long way to go, then more costly alternatives may be an option.”


Source: ewea, November 30, 2011; Image: ESA_events