Netherlands Sets 70 GW Offshore Wind Target for 2050, Plans Large-Scale Green Hydrogen Production and Energy Hubs

The Dutch Government has set a target of 70 GW of offshore wind energy until 2050, based on the assumption that 50 GW could be installed by 2040. In addition to electricity generation, the Government also plans for some of the country’s offshore wind capacity to be used for large-scale green hydrogen production in the North Sea. 

Illustration; Borssele I & II offshore wind farm in the Netherlands; Photo source: Ørsted

The Dutch Government is currently working towards having 21 GW of offshore wind up and running by the end of this decade, which is about 75 per cent of the current electricity consumption in the Netherlands.

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In order to make the industry and society in the country more sustainable, offshore wind energy must continue to grow significantly after 2030, which is why plans are being made for the maximum that is thought to be needed, the Government said.

From 2030, offshore wind farms will mainly be located in areas farther offshore in the North Sea, hundreds of kilometres from the coast. The Government said it wanted to realise large-scale energy hubs at sea in these remote areas and, as a result, not all future wind farms will need to be connected separately to the onshore electricity grid.

With energy hubs built far offshore, several wind farms can be linked together and the energy they produce can then be transported to land partly as electricity and partly as hydrogen, with the latter planned to enable a large part of the industry to switch from gas to green hydrogen.

Connections with other North Sea countries can also be made via the hubs, which will contribute to security of supply.

The Dutch target for 2050 was announced on 16 September, shortly after the Netherlands and the other eight members of the North Seas Energy Cooperation (NSEC) agreed to install at least 260 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2050, which represents more than 85 per cent of the EU-wide ambition of reaching 300 GW by 2050.

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“Earlier this year, we made firm plans for 2030. We are now also laying down an ambitious plan up to 2050. This gives us the space to look further ahead and work carefully”, said Rob Jetten, the Netherlands’ Minister for Climate and Energy.

“70 gigawatts of power is very ambitious and in the coming years we will look at exactly how many gigawatts are needed. This gives us the opportunity to sustainably electrify a large part of the Netherlands and to generate green hydrogen for industry, for example.”

Since the increase in number of offshore wind farms also increases the ecological effects, this aspect will be looked at carefully, according to the Dutch Government.

Sufficient space in the North Sea must also be available for other activities such as fishing and shipping, and the Government is investigating how all interests can go hand in hand through the North Sea Programme. 

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