German energy company RWE is participating in the Dutch offshore wind tender for the Hollandse Kust West (HKW) sites VI and VII.
The areas are located in the North Sea, about 53 kilometres off the Dutch coast. The sites will each deliver more than 760 MW of offshore wind capacity.
In addition, RWE’s proposed design for HKW site VI endeavours to have a positive net impact for the North Sea ecosystem, whereas RWE’s concept for HKW site VII is decribed as ”a blueprint for the perfect integration of offshore wind farms into the Dutch energy system, including 600 MW electrolyser capacity onshore with access to storage capacity in the planned onshore hydrogen backbone.”
Rewilding the Wind Farm
RWE’s unique design concept for HKW VI is expected to mitigate negative effects on flora and fauna – above and below sea level – whilst taking significant steps towards rewilding the North Sea.
The company said it will build on its many years of research at existing offshore wind farms and projects that are currently under development and construction, such as Kaskasi in the German North Sea.
Innovations will be implemented to allow birds and bats to fly safely between the turbines and under the rotor swept area, RWE said. Furthermore, RWE intends to rewild the area by adding artificial reefs and floating gardens. This is expected to enhance the habitat, strengthen the food chain, and thereby benefit all species, such as birds, fish and sea mammals.
RWE will make use of special vibro piling techniques during the construction of the wind farm to minimise disturbance from monopile foundation installation.
The company will also invest in a comprehensive Research & Development (R&D) programme with leading partners. These will including top universities and research institutes from the Netherlands, and will foster local research on innovations and businesses, including the creation of many new research and PhD positions. In addition, RWE envisages to set up a comprehensive multi-technology monitoring system at HKW VI, and will share knowledge widely and freely to enable all stakeholders in offshore wind to do as much for ecology as possible – creating a so called ‘living lab’.
Hollandse Kust West VII and Energy System of the Future
In order to address the challenges arising from matching fluctuating electricity production from renewables with flexible demand for energy, RWE has developed a blueprint for the integration of offshore wind farms into the Dutch energy system.
To this end, RWE will focus on combining the HKW VII offshore wind warm with 600 MW onshore electrolysers for green hydrogen production.
Furthermore, the company intends to integrate e-boilers for heating, battery storage and charging solutions for electric vehicles.
Large parts of the investments are planned in the Groningen and Brabant areas in close collaboration with partners in those regions. In addition, RWE also plans to accelerate the commercial application of new technologies by supporting a vast amount of innovators and startups in demonstrating their innovation in an operational environment. The company’s ultimate goal is to perfectly match the demand for energy to the flexible generation profile of the wind farm, contributing to grid stability.
The solutions on system integration and ecology measures, research, and knowledge sharing will be implemented together with more than 40 partners, RWE said. This includes start-ups and innovators that RWE will support in demonstrating their innovation in an operational environment, as well as clients and industrial partners that the company will support in decarbonising their businesses with new flexible demand investments. Furthermore, RWE will cooperate with universities, educational centres of applied science, and vocational schools with regard to knowledge sharing and dissemination.
The winners of the HKW tender are expected to be announced in Autumn. Apart from RWE, the sites have attracted bids from Ørsted and TotalEnergies, Shell and Eneco, SSE Renewables and Brookfield, bp, and Vattenfall and BASF.
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