Oil and Gas Giant Urges Dutch Government for More Offshore Wind

Royal Dutch Shell, the oil and gas company and one of the owners of the Egmond aan Zee offshore wind farm, has given the Dutch government something to think about ahead of the general election in 2017, asking the country’s leaders to boost offshore wind ambitions.

Shell emphasised the importance of developing the large-scale offshore wind potential in the Netherlands, which will benefit both the Dutch economy and energy transition.

The document, sent to the Dutch House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) on 5 April, advises the next cabinet to help bring the cost of offshore wind power down by creating a policy for a further roll-out of 5-10GW by 2030, thereby encouraging public-private partnerships.

Current Dutch legislation and tendering system is successfully stimulating cost reduction, but there is no policy for the period from 2020/23 onwards and it is highly desirable to quickly define a policy which will facilitate driving the cost further down. There are now significant bottlenecks, especially in the offshore grid connection and planning applications, which require an integrated approach and close cooperation between the government and private parties, according to Shell.

The company said the future government should provide post-2019 clarity within the offshore wind sector, and recommended defining a vision to bring the potential of offshore wind in the North Sea to realization from 2020 onwards.

Furthermore, combining more lots in the tendering procedure should be allowed. Bidding is now limited to a single lot or two combined lots, each holding 350MW of capacity, Shell said, and offering 3 or more lots, or a combination of tendering for large- and small-scale, should be made possible to speed up cost reduction through industrialization benefits.

Offshore wind can play one of the key roles in minimising COemissions, and the Dutch sector of the North Sea represents a unique piece of undeveloped wind energy area, with a potential of up to 50GW that could be developed by 2050, including areas located far from shore, according to Shell. Scaling up is essential to achieve a lower price more rapidly, the company added and explained that calculations indicate that up to 25% – on top of the already agreed 40% – reduction can be achieved through industrialization/ standardization.

Shell’s “Election Manifesto” comes shortly after the news about the company’s interest in developing offshore wind off the Dutch coast, specifically in the Borssele wind zone. The latest information regarding this said it is likely that Shell would bid at the Borssele offshore wind tender as part of a consortium also comprising Eneco, Van Oord and Vestas. The deadline for submitting bids is 12 May, and so far there are no information on whether Shell is actually participating in the tendering process. 

Along with recommendations on offshore wind, Shell’s document to the Dutch government comprises the company’s input on energy transition, natural gas, competitiveness, innovation, and technology and education.

Offshore WIND Staff