15 december 2016

New Dutch offshore wind farm project requires much lower subsidies: minister

Dutch News December 13, 2016

A second large offshore wind farm off the coast of Zeeland province will come in at a far lower cost to the government than originally thought, ANP news agency reported on Tuesday.

Only €300m in subsidies will be required for the project, down from the €5bn originally projected, economic affairs minister Henk Kamp said on Monday evening.

A consortium of mainly Dutch companies headed by energy giant Shell and including offshore contractor Van Oord, energy provider Eneco and DGE, a subsidiary of Japan’s Mitsubishi industrial group, have won the contract to build the wind farm.

The government’s plans call for a total of five new offshore wind farms in Dutch coastal waters. Each will generate 700 megawatts of electricity: the five windfarms combined will be capable of supplying power to five million households when completed in 2023.

Fossil fuels

Announcing the agreement, Kamp said it is only a question of time before wind energy will be able to compete with fossil fuels in price. ‘If developments go as planned no subsidy at all will be required to produce offshore wind energy within 7.5 years,’ he explained.

Environmental group Natuur en Milieu said the costs of generating energy offshore could only fall, and termed the project an ‘enormous boost for the Netherlands as front runner in wind energy. ‘For the first time, wind energy will be cheaper than power generated by coal.’

The Zeeland offshore windfarm project is part of the government’s goal to generate 4,500 MW of wind energy at sea by 2023. The government aims to have 16% of its energy needs produced by sustainable means by that date.

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